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Fund could help repair bridges in north-east

By Kyle Ritchie

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A Troup councillor has said that a new UK fund could help address a "bridges crisis" in the north-east.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay announced last week that the UK Government is expanding its Levelling up Fund to Scotland, with at least £800 million of extra investment.

This could be used for town centre and high street regeneration, local transport, cultural and business projects.

Councillor Mark Findlater visited the Milton of Fisherie Bridge, which is on the C9S road in King Edward at the weekend. It was closed after residents reported damage, and Aberdeenshire Council will be carrying out repairs.

Councillor Mark Findlater at the Milton of Fisherie bridge.
Councillor Mark Findlater at the Milton of Fisherie bridge.

The local authority has also agreed in principle to replace the nearby Fortrie Bridge at a cost of £100,000.

However, seven bridges in total were washed away during floods in September 2019, and the council does not have the funding to replace them all.

Councillor Findlater said: “The Milton of Fisherie bridge was closed at the weekend because a local resident noticed damage underneath the arch and reported it. Aberdeenshire Council can now take action to get this looked at and repaired.

“However, this is one of 1381 bridges in Aberdeenshire and they all have to be maintained, repaired and replaced where necessary.

“Based on the current condition of the bridge network, not including this one, the investment required over the next 20 years is £102 million.

“Aberdeenshire is also one of the lowest funded councils in the country – we do not get a fair share of resources.

“There may be some light at the end of the tunnel, however, with the new UK Levelling Up Fund.

“I would argue that there is a strong case to be made for accessing some of that funding to help overcome our bridges crisis here in Aberdeenshire, and in places like King Edward.”

The original £4 billion Levelling Up fund was announced at the last UK Spending Review and was designed to invest in local infrastructure in the regions of England.

It was targeted specifically at areas that had received less government investment in recent years. It will now be made available to the whole of the UK.

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