Council says no to bridge revamp

Council bosses are adamant they will not be carrying out essential renovations on Matlock Bath’s Jubilee bridge in time for the Queen’s Diamond celebrations this year.

Despite admitting the bridge in Matlock Bath had not been repainted for 20 years, Derbyshire Dales District Council has said renovations to the historic structure will have to wait for at least another year.

Last week in the Mercury calls were made to the council to repaint the bridge in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee anniversary after both residents and visitors voiced their concerns about its poor state.

Matlock town councillor David Barker has now got on board, describing both the bridge and other parts of Matlock Bath as ‘dirty and scruffy’ in a letter to the Mercury.

He said: “Every time I drive on the A6 I get more and more depressed by the obvious neglect and disinterested attitude shown by the county council, district council, parish council, the residents and the traders to the villages appearance.”

Julie Baranek, clerk to Matlock Bath Parish Council, said members had been asking the district council to repaint the bridge for a number of years.

“Every year they promise to do it but they never do,” she said.

Julie said parish councillors recently carried out a survey with members of the Matlock Bath community to find out what they wanted to see in the parish plan, and repainting the Jubilee Bridge was one of the issues raised.

“I think it’s an iconic part of the village and at the moment it’s unsightly,” she concluded.

A district council spokesman said: “There would unfortunately be a considerable lead-in time prior to any work commencing on site.  

“This is due to the fact that the district council will need prepare a specification and then tender a contract for the work, which requires far more than simple re-painting. 

“Work on the bridge can only be undertaken in the spring due to the necessity to avoid the high winter river water levels, the summer tourist season and the annual Matlock Bath Illuminations.  

“The district council will not therefore, be in a position to implement works this year, but will continue to evaluate the nature and extent of work required, and will evaluate the cost of the scheme against its other priorities.

“The important thing is that the bridge is safe – and we’ve tested that it is.”

The authority was unable to say how much it expected the work to cost.

Phil Maycock, director of Lant Lant Ltd, in Tansley, has previously repainted the New Bridge, in Matlock Bath.

He was obviously keen to keep any work done on the Jubilee Bridge local and said if the council was to put the contract out to tender it could cost them a lot of money.

“The whole process wastes thousands of pounds before you even start,” Phil said.

Phil estimated that the revamp could cost between £50,000 and £60,000.

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