A bridge that has stood between Kirdford and Wisborough Green for generations will eventually have to be replaced as it falls into disrepair, Wisborough Green parish council heard last Tuesday (September 19).
Boxal Bridge was the focus of a petition in 2015 to save it from demolition when the issue came before West Sussex County Council, a campaign that attracted more than 3,000 signatures from residents.
The bridge is being inspected every two years for structural soundness, but if it fails an inspection it is still set to be replaced, parish councillor Keith Chapman told fellow councillors.
He said a county council select committee is due to debate the issue again in November, but the parish had been advised that any new bridge would have to be two-way and include a footpath to comply with current highways regulations.
He said: “It should be used to the end of its life.
“In the interim they will be pressing on with the design for a new bridge because they need to have something ready in advance.
“We have said that if that’s the route they’re going to take, the parish expects to be completely involved with any consultation and they’ve agreed to do that.”
The comments come after an update meeting between the parish council and the county council last Thursday.
Cllr Chapman stressed that it ‘could be years’ before a replacement is needed, depending on how long the bridge was found to be safe.
Cllr Andy Burbridge agreed the key issue was to make sure the parish still had a say in the new design.
He said: “I think we can kick and scream with it, but I think the best thing is to really engage with producing a bridge that’s best for where it is.”
Concerns were also voiced over the ongoing issue of traffic management with better signage and viability needed approaching the single lane bridge.
The parish council agreed to liase with Kirdford Parish Council on how to respond.
Boxal Bridge is a registered community asset as part of the rural feel of the area, but the status does not protect the 150-year-old structure from demolition.
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “The recommendation is for Boxal Bridge to be replaced to address all of the structural and safety issues that have been identified.
“Repairing it would only delay the need for replacement for a limited time.”