Swing bridge complaints

Published: Sunday, 27 March 2011

TRADERS and residents living by Bar Lane Swing Bridge  at Riddlesden on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal are upset as the bridge has been locked open preventing pedestrian and vehicle traffic over the waterway.

Ian Hewitt, who owns the butcher's shop by the bridge was furious when he found there was no longer any access over the bridge for his customers when he arrived for work, complaining he had no notice of the closure whatsoever from British Waterways, a spokesman stating the bridge needed urgent repair.

Not an emergency

But Ian points out this fault had not been an emergency, so businesses and residents should have been given advance notice.

One day during last week he told that he had only had a single customer during the early morning, and he will be unable to sell his stock, complaining:

"I was told the bridge hadn't actually broken down, so it wasn't an emergency. But they didn't even have the courtesy to tell us anything about a closure.  The first I knew about it was when I came down at 9am for work."

Known three weeks

District Councillor Doreen Lee, understood that the closure was known three weeks beforehand, but no notice was given, remarking:

‘‘If they knew then that they would have to close the bridge why didn't they tell anyone?''

Iain Weston, Maintenance Manager for British Waterways North West, explained:

"During a routine maintenance check on Bar Lane Swing Bridge, we were forced to undertake an emergency closure to repair a damaged motor.

"We do fully sympathise with the users of the bridge and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. But we are confident we took the most effective short and long-term solution."