Have your say on future of Union Chain Bridge

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An invitation has gone out for people to give their views on the Union Chain Bridge as part of plans to safeguard its future.

Scottish Borders Council and Northumberland County Council have each committed £1m towards the £7.8m project and are working on a Heritage Lottery Bid with the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge ahead of the bridge’s 200th anniversary in 2020.

As part of that bid, they need to know what interest there is in the bridge, linking Horncliffe in Northumberland and Fishwick in Berwickshire, as a visitor attraction, possibly hosting events and education activities.

Built by Samuel Brown in 1820, it is the oldest operational suspension bridge in the world still carrying vehicles.

Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, Gordon Edgar, said: “The Union Chain Bridge is an internationally-significant crossing and contributor to the local tourism economy but is now in need of significant repair.

“While this project aims to restore the bridge, it is also about celebrating its history as it reaches 200 years of age and providing events and learning activities to spread the word about Captain Brown’s iconic engineering feat.”

Northumberland county councillor Glen Sanderson said: “I do hope people will find the time to fill in this survey letting the project team know what they would like to see from the Union Chain Bridge into the future.

“Along with our colleagues in Scotland, we are committed to safeguarding its future, as well as its contribution to the local tourism economy.”

Robbie Hunter, chairman of the friends group, said: “The restoration of the Union Chain Bridge provides an unique opportunity to not only conserve one of the most important and pioneering bridges in Britain, but also for the communities on both sides of the Tweed to benefit from its renovation.”

The survey can be found at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PUBLIC/ and closes on Friday, November 3.