Council says it cannot afford to repair major route into Oundle

Northamptonshire County Council says it can't afford to fix Oundle's Station Road Bridge. Copyright Google NNL-181005-113342005
Northamptonshire County Council says it can't afford to fix Oundle's Station Road Bridge. Copyright Google NNL-181005-113342005

Northamptonshire County Council cannot afford the £750,000 bill to repair a major route into Oundle.

The cash-strapped authority says it has no funds available to fix seven of the 13 arches on the Station Road bridge and so it is imposing a three-tonne weight restriction.

But this means that buses and heavy loads may not be able to travel across the Grade II listed bridge.

Historic England say that the first record of a bridge at the River Nene crossing stretches back to 1329.

The existing bridge was built in 1912 and has since become an important part of the A427 route into town.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Oundle North bridge was assessed, to determine its load carrying capacity, in October 2014. This concluded that 7 of the 13 arches of the Listed Grade II structure were deficient in their loading capacity and since then the structure has been monitored.

“Following on from this a feasibility study was recently carried out to investigate options for its strengthening and refurbishment.

“The approximate cost of carrying out the strengthening works is about £750,000 - however given the current financial climate the funding is not available.

“As a result we have decided to apply for a 3 tonne weight restriction to protect this historic monument whilst funding is secured.”

Beth Miller, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northamptonshire, is asking people to contact MP Tom Pursglove with their concerns. She said: “This will dramatically impact local business and also create delays for residents as larger vehicles are forced to take over routes, including through Market Place.

“Northants County Council are not planning to repair the bridge because they are bankrupt and cannot afford to. When the safety of our residents is compromised our county council simply isn’t meeting their statutory duties to our community.

“The only way these repairs will take place is if central government provides the funding. This is the least they can do - this whole mess has been caused by national underfunding by the Conservative Government (they imposed cuts of 44% which our MP voted for), and local mismanagement at Conservative -run NCC.

“We’re the fifth richest country in the world but yet the government and our MP refuse to give us enough money to keep our roads fit for purpose and safe.”

History of Oundle North Bridge

The first record of a bridge stretches back to 1329.

There is another record in 1360.

When the old bridge was rebuilt in 1835 a stone was discovered bearing the inscription: - IN THE YERE OF OVRE LORD 1570 THES ARCHES WER BORNE DOVNE BY THE WATERS EXTREMYTIE. IN THE YERE OF OVRE LORD 1571 THEY WERE BULDED AGAYN WITH LYME AND STONNE THANKS BE TO GOD.

The bridge was again rebuilt and widened in 1912.

The stone found in 1835 is preserved in the parapet.