Derby's Friar Gate bridge needs £1m facelift

image captionThe bridge was built by Andrew Handyside's Derby foundry firm in 1878

A historic Derby railway bridge that has fallen into disrepair needs a £1m restoration to return it to its "former glory", a councillor said.

The 136-year-old Friar Gate bridge has been closed for 50 years, but previous restoration efforts have failed, city councillor Martin Rawson said.

He said the council is asking for money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

English Heritage said the Grade II listed bridge, built in 1878, was a "nationally important" structure.

£1 sale

Mr Rawson said: "The best option for us going forward is to put a bid into the National Heritage Lottery Fund and to be able to get that money to bring the bridge back to its former glory.

"There have been a number of schemes over the years (to get support from developers) ... but unfortunately they have not come to fruition.

image captionThe bridge was situated on the western extension of the Great Northern Railway, which ran from London to York
image captionThe decorative work on the bridge has deteriorated since it closed in the 1960s

"There is no plan to reopen the bridge to rail traffic but the aim is to make it more visually attractive and perhaps to eventually use it as a pedestrian bridge."

The cost of the work on the ornately-decorated bridge would vary depending on the extent of the repairs, but could exceed £1m if tree clearance, drainage improvements and stone work are included, a council report said.

The railway bridge was closed in 1964 and later sold to Derby City Council by British Rail for £1 on the understanding that it would be maintained by the local authority.

Friar Gate Bridge Action Group has been lobbying for its restoration since the 1970s.

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