'We feel abandoned': Lechlade businesses struggling due to Halfpenny Bridge closure

The bridge was deemed unsafe after a car damaged the wall.

Businesses in Lechlade have said they’re losing thousands of pounds in potential takings because of the ongoing closure of Halfpenny Bridge.

The 18th-century bridge, which connects Lechlade with Highworth and Swindon, has been closed to traffic since June after it was struck by a car and part of the wall collapsed. 

Gareth Chapman, manager of The Riverside pub in Lechlade, told ITV West Country that he's lost business due to the closure.

"We just feel abandoned. Takings are down 40 to 45 percent. Trade has dropped off massively after we spent two years building back after Covid," he said.

"Local people are getting upset about it now, they just want their town back".

The bridge is not expected to reopen until the end of October.

Some business owners have asked Gloucestershire County Council for financial support, but said they have received no help yet.

Max Abbott, founder of Sourdough Revolution, said: "We’re reliant on footfall and on people stopping through town. If half those people can’t make it through then what can we do?"

Halfpenny Bridge connects Lechlade with Highworth and Swindon, and is the main route to and from Wiltshire.

Repair work started on site earlier this month, but is not expected to be finished until the end of October.

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said: “Though work has only recently started on site, we have been working flat out behind the scenes to reopen the bridge.

"As a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the work had to be sensitively designed and planned and then ratified by Heritage England, Historic England, and the Secretary of State before physical work could begin on site.

"The bridge remains open to pedestrians to allow access to the nearby businesses and the three other routes into Lechlade are also open.

"We thank residents and businesses for their patience as we repair Halfpenny Bridge."

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