CAMPAIGNERS calling for a weight limit to be placed on Winnington Swing Bridge say they are frustrated after being ‘brushed off’ by the council.

Members of the Winnington and Castle Residents Voice group say that an 18 tonne weight limit would help to preserve the bridge, which is part of Northwich’s heritage, from further damage.

But in a letter sent from Cheshire West and Chester Council to Mike Amesbury MP, seen by the campaign group and the Guardian, the council insists the bridge does not need a weight restriction.

Lee Siddall, spokesman for the resident group, said: “It looks to me like the council is protecting its own interests by not granting a weight restriction on Winnington Swing Bridge as the redevelopment of Winnington Works will be impeded.

“This is due to site traffic not being able to use the bridge if it has a weight restriction.

"I find it appalling that CWAC will push its responsibilities of protecting Northwich’s heritage to one side in order to help big global businesses make millions of pounds.

“Winnington Swing Bridge is damaged and deteriorating with urgent repairs needed, however CWAC feels it is adequate to prop it up part of this historic bridge up in order to keep allowing heavy goods vehicles use it.”

Major repairs to the grade II-listed bridge, which was built in 1909, were due to take place in April, but were postponed due to coronavirus fears for those working on it.

This £930,000 project aims to replace ‘deteriorating’ parts of the bridge to ‘ensure it can continue to operate’.

Northwich Guardian:

Winnington Swing Bridge

Lee has been in contact with Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, who contacted CWAC about seeing a weight limit imposed.

In its response, the council said: “Engineers have assessed the bridge and determined that there are elements that are in need of work sooner rather than later.

“Although the planning statement mentions 7.5 tonnes, this refers to a localised area of the bridge and not the entire structure.

“A lot of work was put in to preparing the planned works and it is unfortunate that they have had to be postponed.

“However, the bridge has not been abandoned and we are ensuring that it remains safe for use by the public and without a weight restriction.”

CWAC also told Mr Amesbury that the summer weather will slow the deterioration of the bridge, thanks to less road salt and water causing corrosion, while the quieter traffic in lockdown means engineers can monitor the bridge more regularly.

There are also emergency plans in place for the bridge, the council says, but Winnington and Castle Residents Voice insists the response to Mr Amesbury is ‘embarrassing’.

Lee added: “I find the response to Mike Amesbury from CWAC quite frankly embarrassing and a total brush off.

“I have been campaigning for some time on this matter and it's now time for our council representatives to step up and help as our MP has done.”