Survey launched on future of Union Chain Bridge
04 Oct 2017
Members of the public are being invited to give their views on the Union Chain Bridge as part of ambitious plans to safeguard its future.
Scottish Borders Council (SBC), Northumberland County Council (NCC) and community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge are jointly working on a £7.8m project to secure its status, including a bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery, ahead of its 200th anniversary in 2020.
Built by Captain Samuel Brown in 1820, it is currently the oldest operational suspension bridge in the world still carrying vehicles, and through securing Heritage Lottery funding it is hoped the bridge can also deliver numerous cultural, heritage and community benefits.
To assist with developing the Heritage Lottery bid, the project team is now asking members of the public to give their views on what they would like the Union Chain Bridge to offer in future years as a visitor attraction, including events and educational activities.
Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, Councillor 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.
“It is important the Heritage Lottery bid has considered the views of all stakeholders and this survey is an opportunity for the public to contribute to the project.”
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services at Northumberland County Council 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.
"It is a fascinating structure - internationally important and key to our history and heritage, and which has a great deal to offer to future generations of local residents and visitors to the area.
“Along with our colleagues in Scotland we are committed to safeguarding its future and status, as well as its contribution to the local tourism economy."
Robbie Hunter, Chair of the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge 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 through activities connected to the programme.
"The survey we are conducting will enable us to focus on why people think the bridge is important and how we can ensure that the communities benefit from the works, through the comprehensive community activity plans that a successful Heritage Lottery bid would deliver and also through the substantial benefits to the local economy."
Both SBC and NCC have committed £1m each to the Union Chain Bridge project.
The survey is available at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PUBLIC/
and closes on Friday 3 November.