South Scotland

Union Chain Bridge upgrade views sought

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Media captionViews sought on Union Chain Bridge upgrade

A survey has been launched to gauge public opinion on £7.8m plans to upgrade a historic bridge linking Scotland and England.

Councils on both sides of the border have already committed £1m to the Union Chain Bridge scheme.

However, Scottish Borders Council's scrutiny committee has called for "greater transparency" over funding.

The public now has until 3 November to complete the survey on what they would like to see in the bridge overhaul.

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption Councils on either side of the border have backed the project with £1m each

The bridge - built by Cpt Samuel Brown in 1820 - crosses the River Tweed from Fishwick in Berwickshire to Horncliffe in Northumberland.

It is hoped a major upgrade can be completed ahead of its 200th anniversary.

SBC's executive member for roads and infrastructure, Gordon Edgar, said: "The Union Chain Bridge is an internationally significant crossing and contributor to the local tourism economy but is now in need of significant repair.

Image copyright Scottish Borders Council
Image caption It is hoped the upgrade can be completed by 2020 - the bridge's 200th anniversary

"While this project aims to restore the bridge, it is also about celebrating its history as it reaches 200 years of age, and providing events and learning activities to spread the word about Cpt Brown's iconic engineering feat.

"It is important the Heritage Lottery bid has considered the views of all stakeholders and this survey is an opportunity for the public to contribute to the project."

Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services at Northumberland County Council, said he hoped as many people as possible would complete the survey.

"It is a fascinating structure - internationally important and key to our history and heritage, and which has a great deal to offer to future generations of local residents and visitors to the area," he said.

"Along with our colleagues in Scotland we are committed to safeguarding its future and status, as well as its contribution to the local tourism economy."

Robbie Hunter, who chairs the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge, said the project was a "unique opportunity" for communities on both sides of the River Tweed.

He said the study would let them ensure those communities benefited from the improvement works.

The survey can be completed online until early next month.

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