Controversial bridge closure thrown out

Bishop's Bridge
Bishop's Bridge

Controversial plans to close a popular bridge near Cruden Bay have been thrown out by Buchan councillors after a raft of objections.

Members of the Buchan area committee had been asked to give the go-ahead for the implementation of The Aberdeenshire Council (Prohibition of Driving) Order for Bishop’s Bridge on the outskirts of the village at their meeting in February this year.

While no objections were received at the statutory consultation stage, 21 objections were received following a public consultation.

In a report to councillors at their meeting in Peterhead on Tuesday, planning chief Stephen Archer said the cost of maintaining the structure, given its listing, was significant and the frequency of damage, has led to the promotion of this permanent Prohibition of Driving Order, which will restrict the bridge to pedestrian, solo motorcycle and cycle traffic only,” he said.

“The effect of this order will not only protect the structure of the bridge, but will stop the current misuse of the route.”

However, objectors - which included representatives from the two local churches - said the closure of the bridge would cause severe problems for parishioners as it would involve a lengthy diversion and could affect weddings and funerals.

One stated: “The council suggests that an alternative route on the unclassified U79B Ardiffery Mains road is suitable. I know this road very well and I am convinced that it is far from satisfactory as an alternative route.

“I would suggest that to close the bridge will cause considerable inconvenience and is unnecessary,” she added.

After hearing the concerns of objectors, councillors agreed that the bridge should remain open to traffic.

They also agreed that traffic calming measures should be put in place in a bid to help resolve the problem.