THE Welsh Government is to be urged to come up with funding to replace a 200-year-old bridge which was swept away in floods early this year.

It has been revealed that constructing a new bridge over the River Clwyd at Llannerch, between Trefnant and Tremeirchion, could cost up to £7m – and Denbighshire County Council has no money allocated for the scheme.

The cabinet today (Tuesday) agreed in principle to replace the Grade II stone bridge which disappeared during Storm Christoph in January this year.

The National Wales: Damage done to Llannerch Bridge. Photo: Liahll Bruce.Damage done to Llannerch Bridge. Photo: Liahll Bruce.

Since then villagers have faced a seven-mile diversion and they responded emphatically to a consultation exercise by the council.

Counters showed that an average of 1,600 vehicles a day used the bridge, partly because local residents used it to avoid St Asaph on the way from the A55.

A quarter of the 750 responses were from Tremeirchion residents, a quarter from Trefnant and the remainder from the wider community.

People were asked whether they wanted the link restored and, if so, what type of bridge they favoured.

In a report to the cabinet meeting Tim Towers, the council’s highways risk and asset manager, said that 95 per cent of the respondents called for the bridge to be replaced as soon as possible, proving it was a vital link for the community.

“Perhaps this is not surprising given that 93 per cent of Tremeirchion respondents use the bridge at least weekly and 65 per cent of all other respondents were also very regular users if it,” he says.

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“We are still analysing the data in terms of people’s views on how they feel the bridge should look.”

Not only was the bridge an important link but many people also cherished its unusual shaps, configuration and stonework.

Officers have been working with consultants about a possible replacement and early indications are that it could cost £6m - £7m, with up to £1m of it on ground investigation, land acquisition and detailed design work.

“This is obviously a significant capital commitment for the council, and it is considered that approaches should be made to seek external funding, particularly to Welsh Government,” said the report.

Local member Christine Marston said the social and economic impact on the communities had been “devastating”.

Cllr Julian Thompson-Hill, the leader member for finance, said the first priority had to be securing funding from the Welsh Government as the council had no funding allocated for the capital scheme, but the matter would have to be considered further if that support was not forthcoming.

Cllr Emrys Wynne asked whether the Ministry of Defence could be approached about installing a temporary bridge, but the head of highways Tony Ward said one of the main problems lay with the foundations of the bridge and such a temporary scheme would be “unfeasible and unjustifiable”.

The cabinet agreed in principle for the bridge to be replaced and for Welsh Government to be approached.

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