Calls for 'urgent repairs' to historic bridge on edge of South Downs National Park

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Calls are being made for ‘urgent repairs’ to be carried out to an historic bridge on the edge of the South Downs National Park.

Greatham Bridge – off the A29 in Coldwaltham, south of Pulborough – is Grade II listed and a Scheduled Monument.

Part of the bridge spanning the River Arun is a modern cast iron construction but to the west of it is a stone portion built over low ground which was added to a pre-existing bridge in 1827.

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But a major chunk of stone is missing from its parapet. Now local resident Chris Biggs is calling for action. “It needs putting back urgently – it may well have been nudged into the river by a car or lorry but I cannot see it even at low tide.

Damage at the historic Greatham Bridge at ColdwalthamDamage at the historic Greatham Bridge at Coldwaltham
Damage at the historic Greatham Bridge at Coldwaltham

“I know potholes are a priority too, especially on that bit of road, Brook Lane, which I walk every day – but this needs fixing now.

“It is one of the oldest bridges in Sussex over a tidal river – the Arun – at a spot that is quite breath-taking in its beauty.

“We need to make sure we look after these ancient creations handed down to us by previous generations. It is a listed historic monument now.

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“If it is not repaired, rain will get into the fabric of the structure below where that coping stone sat and then when it freezes the stones will be forced apart – ice more voluminous than water – and it will start to degrade and eventually that bit of the wall collapse. So it does need repairing before winter sets in.”

He said the bridge had been in its current state for at least four months.

A spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said: “We can confirm that West Sussex County Council is responsible for maintaining Greatham Bridge.

“We are aware of the damage but as the bridge is a listed monument, we require the assistance of our specialist stonemason to undertake the works and these will be completed in due course.”

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