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A tale of two bridges: Pooley Bridge work moves fast as Eamont Bridge residents bemoan 'lack of action'

Residents in a Cumbrian village are angry that work to repair their flood-damaged bridge is moving too slowly.

Almost three months after the December floods fourteen major bridges in Cumbria are still closed.

While work is progressing quickly at some, like Pooley Bridge near Penrith, people just a few miles away at Eamont Bridge have said they do not know when their main road will re-open.

Ian Chambers who has a garage at Tirril, just outside Eamont Bridge, summed up people's mood: "Completely cheesed off really because there seems to be a lack of information coming from the authorities as to what is the plan for what's going on and everyone is just getting fed up with it."

Motorists now have to take a detour of four-five miles along narrow country roads to get to the other side of the bridge, which is still standing but has been badly damaged.

Ian's son Chris has said: "Obviously locals are getting sick of having to do the diversion, infrastructure is starting to suffer, residents, customers, the whole lot."

Local business owners gathered at the bridge today to discuss the problem. Some are already seeing the impact of the closure, like landlord, Simon Prior of the Gate Inn in the neighbouring village of Yanwath. He's already had to reduce his workforce.

"Our staff numbers before the storm were seven and now we're down to two and the key issue for me for the business is that this is a food lead pub, has a good reputation in the area and we need information to take decisions about out business."

And one of the pubs in Eamont Bridge itself, The Crown, has claimed it is also suffering from a lack of customers.

It's owner Mike Gardner told @TimBackshallITV: "Take Sunday, which is a carvery day. We have four meats. We have hundreds of people come - now nobody. We get twenty to thirty if we are lucky."

Last week work appeared to be start to repair Eamont Bridge, but very quickly stopped again.

The County Council has said there have been several problems including delays in getting the necessary permits.

"There was that part of it for getting divers in but also because of the fast flowing water. That's been our biggest problem. We've got a ten day window now.

"We're hoping to make full use of that. If we can get in we've got all the materials on site, we can get the repairs done and it will be open as quickly as we can get that done, so it could be two weeks."

If that does prove to be the timescale it will be very welcome news here, say residents.

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