Update given on Ladies Bridge

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Members of the Buchan area committee will be given a project update on repairs to Cruden Bay’s Ladies Bridge when they meet in Peterhead on Tuesday.

The historic bridge provides pedestrian access over the Waters of Cruden from Harbour Street, Port Erroll, to Cruden Bay beach.

Committee members will be told there are no other viable alternative accesses as the golf course lies immediately to the rear of the beach.

In a report to go before Tuesday’s meeting, planning chief Stephen Archer says although the bridge is still owned by the Cruden Bay Community Association (CBCA), Aberdeenshire Council is responsible for maintaining the structure as a result of an agreement signed by the former Banff & Buchan District Council.

The existing agreement ends in January 2014.

Mr Archer says: “Discussions will continue to take place with the CBDA on the maintenance and long-term future of the bridge.

“Over the last few years there has been increasing concern over the condition of the bridge which has required maintenance works to be carried out.

“In early 2010 the bridge was closed to the public due to severe damage to the seaward parapet.

“Repairs carried out by the local community in conjunction with Aberdeenshire Council allowed the bridge to re-open.”

Mr Archer says further significant repairs are now required to ensure Ladies Bridge continues to function and remains safe to use.

“Limited funds have been secured though the TREK Aberdeenshire bid and other sources for a repair scheme to be developed and implemented,” says Mr Archer.

“An options report was completed by the council’s Term Consultants for Roads Related Professional Services in October 2012. This report recommended remediation works could be carried out to all timber members identified as containing decay, both those needing immediate repair and those where monitoring was suggested by timber specialists.

“If these works were undertaken by a specialist contractor and supervised by a specialist then the consultant estimated that a further 30 year service life could reasonably be expected.

“The 30-year service life assumes that the bridge will be maintained over that period in accordance with a bespoke specialist maintenance schedule. The budget cost estimate for this work was £488,000.

“On receipt of this estimate it was considered that this far exceeded available funds and a decision was made to reconsider the options available to the council. It was decided that the council’s structures team and planning service should undertake a feasibility study with a view to establishing a more affordable solution.

“It is now intended that the feasibility study work is prioritised and that sufficient staff resources are allocated to allow the scheme to progress as quickly as possible. It is anticipated that the study will be complete in early June. Thereafter a further update will be provided to the committee.”