Flooding damages Thornhope Beck Bridge in Wolsingham

Damaged Thornhope Bridge The bridge had been inspected and improvement work carried out in 2012

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Efforts are being made to repair a County Durham bridge, which partially collapsed in heavy rain at the weekend.

The damage to Thornhope Beck Bridge, near Wolsingham, meant residents of about 20 properties and a caravan park were limited to access by foot.

The Grade II Listed sandstone structure, which dates from the 18th Century, was closed after flash flooding on Saturday.

Durham County Council said restoring "full and safe access" was a priority.

Adrian White, the council's head of transport and contracts, said: "We will ensure public safety and restore road access to this community as quickly as possible.

'Regular inspections'

"We share the frustrations of local people that another significant weather event has damaged a structure and had an impact on the daily lives of many people.

"We will keep all involved fully informed at every stage of the actions we are taking to reinstate normal daily life for all those affected."

Police have distributed letters explaining what measures are being taken.

A Durham Police spokesman said: "Pedestrian access remains, but regular inspections will be taking place to ensure this continues to be safe."

Durham County Council said the bridge was inspected last year and some improvements carried out.

Mr White added: "Investigations are continuing, but the speed and volume of the flood water, together with the weight of debris carried rapidly downstream following Saturday's significant rainfall, is believed to have caused the damage."

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