Croston 'eyesore' bridge covering prompts village row

The vinyl covering Image copyright Croston Against New Transport Bridge
Image caption A huge vinyl cover has been added to the bridge in Croston, Lancashire

A row has broken out after a village bridge described as an "eyesore" was draped in a huge plastic covering to obscure it from view.

The bridge was built by Network Rail in Croston, Lancashire, in 2018 but became unpopular with some residents.

Now an unauthorised vinyl covering has been thrown over the steel structure, leading to more complaints.

Network Rail said: "Changing the appearance of our property without our permission is illegal".

Precisely who organised the covering, which features greenery and the words Welcome to Croston, remains a mystery.

Lancashire Police said the force had not been made aware of it.

Pat Tack, a resident who has campaigned against the bridge, described it as a "dangerous act of vandalism" and said it had been added without consulting villagers.

"When there's a high wind, it could rip off the sheets of vinyl, and they could fly into the face of oncoming traffic," she said.

Image caption How the bridge looked before the the vinyl covering was added

Ms Tack said it had put the campaign "back to square one" and was "not representing the will of the people".

"Network Rail could use this vandalism as an excuse to do nothing," she said.

A petition was recently started calling on Network Rail to make the bridge on Meadow Lane more in keeping with the village.

Rail bosses held a public meeting and had offered to paint the bridge - but the idea was rejected by residents.

Councillor Paul Sloan said he understood the frustrations about the bridge but did not support the action.

"Any modifications or anything that's done to this bridge needs to be done properly by Network Rail," he said.

He said Chorley Council were calling on Network Rail to consider other options such as a mural or tasteful cladding.

Network Rail said it was aware of the covering but said their policy on vandalism and graffiti was to only remove items which are offensive.

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