More than half a million pounds has already been spent by Cheshire West and Chester Council on preparatory work for two new Winnington bridges which may now not go ahead.

The Guardian reported recently how the Government had knocked back a £45m council bid to its Levelling Up fund towards the proposed new crossings.

The money would have contributed toward a wider £51m scheme to convert the existing Grade II listed Winnington Turn and Stone bridges into cycle/pedestrian only crossings, along with the creation of two new road bridges for vehicles - one fixed bridge across the Weaver, and another across the navigation.

But the scheme was left out of the government's recent announcement of successful Levelling Up projects, with £13m going to a different council scheme to regenerate Ellesmere Port town centre.

In order for the Winnington project not to fall behind schedule, the council had earmarked £1m for project work to be undertaken even before the decision was known, including design and site surveys. The council said £533,000 of that figure was spent.

Councillor Karen Shore, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for environment, highways & strategic transport, said she was 'disappointed' over the government's decision but said other options for funding would be explored.

She said: “The council is committed to working to improve the transport infrastructure and will continue to liaise closely with partners and civil servants to identify opportunities for alternative funding to deliver a solution that local people and businesses need."

Another round of the Levelling Up fund is expected and the council said it will 'fully explore' the option as more details emerge.

Cllr Shore added: "All of the work carried out to date is necessary to help take forward the design of this major engineering project and can be used for subsequent applications.”