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Agencies Can’t Agree A Statement on Weir Bridge Repair

Published on: 27 Jul, 2022
Updated on: 27 Jul, 2022

By Martin Giles

A promised joint statement on the closed Tumbling Bay Weir footbridge is still awaited after five weeks of prevarication by the agencies involved in its repair, including the National Trust, Guildford Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Thames Water and Surrey County Council.

The reason for the delay has been repeatedly given as a lack of agreement over the wording of the statement.

The weir footbridge, which formed part of the towpath that runs alongside the Wey navigation and gave pedestrian and cycle access from areas south of the town, has been closed since November 2019 when the weir suddenly collapsed.

A temporary repair of the weir, started on March 23, 2020, and completed two months later, allowed the water in the river to return to normal levels but a footbridge was not included.

The main factor delaying a full repair is the acceptance of financial responsibility and there are rumours of associated legal wrangling between the agencies. The National Trust owns the navigation and towpath but appears to believe that GBC should bear some of the cost too.

See: Council Reacts: ‘We Are Working Together to Ensure the Future of the Tumbling Bay Weir’

In June, when The Dragon asked NT and GBC for an update, and comments from others, John Harrison of the St Catherine’s Village Association (SCVA), whose members are among those most affected by the closure, was worried that the temporary repair could become permanent.

He said: “What is really frustrating for local residents is no priority seems to have been attached to reinstating the Tumbling Bay weir bridge which forms an essential part of the River Wey towpath, considered a valued amenity by many. The lack of concern being shown over this is lamentable.

“Army engineers, stationed nearby, are expert at building temporary bridges across rivers. Couldn’t the National Trust and the council seek their help for a temporary, simple footbridge solution? It would be good PR all round.”

Cllr John Rigg

But The Dragon has been informed that council officers were averse to the financial risk associated with a temporary replacement.

In January the lead councillor responsible at GBC said: “We all hope [a solution] is soon, but we don’t know when that will be.

“Rest assured that although we don’t own the bridge or the weir, we are very keen to reach a long-term solution so the path and bridge can open again.”

The Tumbling Bay weir as pictured for this 1900s postcard view. David Rose collection.

The SCVA has now scheduled a talk in October for its members on the history of Tumbling Bay Weir, previous work done to maintain it over the years, and the latest work up to June 2020, carried out during the Covid lockdown period.

See also: ‘We Don’t Know’ When Weir Repair Will Be Completed Admits Lead Councillor

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test 2 Responses to Agencies Can’t Agree A Statement on Weir Bridge Repair

  1. Ian Tomes Reply

    August 2, 2022 at 9:10 am

    This reflects very poorly on all these agencies, nearly all of whom have policies in place to encourage recreation. A scaffold bridge could be easily erected at very modest cost on a “ no prejudice basis” with all parties contributing.

    Where is Guildford’s MP in this by the way and why isn’t she banging heads together?

  2. M Smith Reply

    August 4, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    Perhaps some environmentalists with spare time could visit the offices of these incompetents?

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