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Tue October 15 2019

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Funds sought for historic bridge refurb

26 Jun A bid has been submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for additional funding towards an £8.1m restoration of the historic Union Chain Bridge.

If the bid is successful, major works could start next year.

In March 2018, a £360,000 development grant was awarded following a first-round NLHF bid by Northumberland County Council, Museums Northumberland, community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge and Scottish Borders Council.

The development work has included detailed investigations to assess the condition of every element of the bridge and how best to undertake the conservation and repair works.

This work is now complete and the project is now seeking grant funding to support the implementation of the £8.1m delivery phas’, with the submission of a second-round bid to the NLHF for £3.14m. A decision on the bid is expected in September.

Scottish Borders Council and Northumberland County Council have committed match funding totalling £3.4m towards the scheme, with other fundraising activities continuing to be progressed by the Friends of Union Chain Bridge in support of the project.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We’ve been working tirelessly over the past two years to develop this ambitious project and are delighted to have submitted an extremely strong second round submission.

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“What’s abundantly clear is how loved this bridge is, not just locally, but nationally and internationally and we’ve had support from across the world as we’ve worked to get to this point.”

“It really shows the close working between ourselves, Museums Northumberland, the Friends of Union Chain Bridge and our colleagues in Scottish Borders Council - making it a very exciting and substantial cross-border, cross-council venture.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, executive member for roads and infrastructure at Scottish Borders Council, said: “This is a real partnership project and I am very pleased with the final submission made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. If successful, this project will conserve and raise awareness of the internationally significant Union Chain Bridge, and celebrate its historical and engineering importance for its landmark 200th anniversary.”

Robert Hunter, chair of the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge, said: “The support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund is crucial for this project to succeed. The bridge partners have worked incredibly hard to come up with a really compelling programme of restoration and learning that will provide tremendous opportunities for the local and wider communities to benefit from this inspirational project.

“The building of the Union Chain Bridge 200 years ago was a ground-breaking engineering achievement and it is vital that we save this much-loved bridge for future generations.”

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