WORK is due to take place in February to repair and reinstate a badly-corroded swing bridge on the Weaver Navigation.

Because of the poor condition of the small lock bridge at Vale Royal Locks it is closed, and has been left in the open position so boats can still pass through the lock.

Pedestrian access across the lock is via a temporary timber footbridge granted listed building consent in 2011 and renewed in 2013.

The temporary bridge will be removed when repairs to the swing bridge have been carried out.

The Canal and River Trust is seeking listed building consent from Cheshire West and Chester Council for the temporary removal, repair and reinstatement of the bridge.

Trust heritage advisor Kate Lynch said in a report with the application: “A principal inspection was undertaken on the bridge in 2008.

“The report identified that the structure was suffering from extensive corrosion, and found the bridge to be in a very poor condition.”

She said both outer lattice beams were heavily corroded, as were the diagonal bracings, and there had been a complete breakdown of the paint system throughout the structure.

There was heavy corrosion to the bracings, centre beam and counterbalance deck plates on the underside of the bridge, she added, timbers were generally loose and planks showed signs of decay.

Vale Royal Locks are situated on the River Weaver, and the small lock, together with its lock gates and swing bridge, is a grade two listed structure.

The works to the bridge are programmed for February subject to listed building consent, and the repairs are partly funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund Saltscape project.

“Swing bridges form an important part of the functioning heritage of the River Weaver, and their design reflects the size and type of vessels which once used the navigation,” said Kate.

“The swing bridges at Vale Royal provide access over the locks on the Weaver Navigation to the lock keepers hut and Vale Royal Lock Cottages.

“They also carry a public right of way and provide a popular means of access for walkers, anglers and other visitors.”