West of England Combined Authority Mayor, Dan Norris, took up an invitation – by Bath MP Wera Hobhouse – to visit Cleveland Bridge and see the repair work underway for himself. Cllr Manda Rigby (Bathwick Ward), Cabinet Member for Transport, joined them.
Wera Hobhouse said: “I am very pleased that Dan was able to find the time to visit Cleveland Bridge. I took the opportunity to explain the challenges of having a Grade 2* listed bridge, and its importance to the city. I remain concerned that once the repairs have been carried out, HGVs will return and we will be back to needing repairs again in another 10-15 years’ time. In the meantime, residents and businesses are being affected by the closure.”
Wera continued: “I have raised the issue in Parliament on a number of occasions. Each time the government has reiterated its position, that the consideration of the north/south route should be undertaken through a strategic study by the Western Gateway Transport Board. Although this work has now started, it will take years.”
Dan Norris said: “Cleveland Bridge is one of the wonderful Bath landmarks that I’ve known for many years and it was good to see for myself, and discuss with Wera, the impact of the current closure on the lives of Bath residents and city businesses.
“It’s clear that the volume of traffic over many decades, including HGVs, has taken a toll on the bridge’s structure, making these repairs necessary. I’m grateful to Wera for helpfully setting out to me the many factors that affect the prospects of a long-term solution to this huge city traffic challenge, and she has agreed to keep me updated.”
Wera and Dan also met with Christian Coccia, owner of Avellinos Italian Deli on the Walcot side of the bridge, to hear about the challenges facing local businesses trying to cope with the disruption. With the bridge closed, some of Christian’s customers from further afield have stopped coming. Although there is still parking available, the increased journey time has put people off.
Bath & North East Somerset Cllr Manda Rigby (Bathwick Ward), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “I am delighted that Wera and Dan made time to visit and to discuss Cleveland Bridge. I was very heartened by the points agreed upon by all as we work together to protect our heritage asset and residents’ wellbeing.”