Concerns for funding to repair and re-open Whorlton Bridge were addressed in the House of Commons today, as Dehenna Davison MP calls for the Transport Secretary to meet her and council officials to discuss repairs.
Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison, asked the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, if he would meet with her to discuss funding for the full repairs of the historic bridge, a key route for residents travelling to and from Whorlton, Thorpe and beyond.
The question comes after Dehenna held a call last week with council officials and residents of Whorlton and the surrounding villages to discuss the progress to re-open the bridge, and how soon residents will be able to travel across it.
The bridge, built in the 1800s, has been closed for over a year leaving many residents without a direct route across the River Tees. Late last year Durham County Council announced the full closure of the bridge after their investigations suggested the structure of the bridge was too weak to allow residents to walk and cycle across.
Local resident Mary Stastny said,
“Residents of Whorlton, Wycliffe and beyond are very encouraged to hear that our MP, Dehenna Davison has again brought up the issue of repairing Whorlton Bridge in parliament and that the Minister has responded by indicating that the project should be covered by the £4 billion levelling up fund, set aside by this government. We are very grateful to Dehenna for her tenacity and commitment to the matter of repairing this historic suspension bridge. “
Since becoming MP, Dehenna has met with residents several times on this issue and speaking in the House of Commons she said,
“My Right Honourable Friend is used to me bending his ear about the Toft Hill Bypass but today I am mixing it up.
“Durham County Council have the funding available for the necessary testing of the bridge’s components, but there are concerns about funding availability for the full repairs. So, will the Secretary of State meet me and council officers to help find the funding solution for the repairs of the nationally significant bridge?”
Addressing her funding concerns, the Secretary of State replied,
“Her concerns over Whorlton Bridge, I think will be very well addressed by the £4 billion levelling up fund, and I look forward to hearing from her when that fund becomes available. I would be very happy to meet up with her myself or arrange for the Roads Minister to do the same.”