Suspense over Chain Bridge future

The Union Chain Bridge.
The Union Chain Bridge.

Scottish Borders Council leader Councillor David Parker did some quick back-tracking after saying this week that the Union Chain Bridge over the River Tweed “is not on the radar”.

Councillor Parker went on to say at the council’s executive meeting on Tuesday: “There are plans in place to reduce its usage.”

East Berwickshire councillor Michael Cook disputed this and said “it is on the radar”, but the discussion went no further.

But later the same day Councillor Parker issued a statement saying: “We have no plans at the moment to do anything about the bridge’s usage although we keep its condition under regular review.”

Earlier this month at the Berwickshire Area Forum, councillors were asked what plans there were for the bridge. And having been asked that question at the Duns meeting, Mid Berwickshire councillor, Donald Moffat, then asked it at council headquarters.

After the meeting Councillor Parker said: “The Chain Bridge is currently open and is functioning and we are keeping it under constant review. Obviously a bridge of this nature does require to be monitored.

“There is a group who wish to renovate the bridge and renovation of the structure could cost upwards of £4.5m.

“Both councils are very supportive of what the group would like to do and if external funding could be identified to help with the renovations that would be tremendous as I suspect both councils would be unable to identify this type of funding on their own.

“The bridge is not in the council’s capital programme but a discussion took place very briefly about it.”

Berwick Preservation Trust is interested in preserving the 1820 Union Chain Bridge, the oldest surviving iron chain suspension bridge in Europe.