Sunday, 23rd November 2014

Bridgnorth’s historic steps and walkways set for major facelift.

Bridgnorth’s historic steps and walkways are to get a major facelift thanks to a £100,000 refurbishment scheme.

The seven sets of steps, which connect High Town to Low Town, and the Castle Walk have fallen into disrepair.

Work carried out will include removing weeds, rebuilding walls, repairing the steps, cutting down vegetation and repainting railings.

The scheme is expected to begin in two weeks and last through the summer.

Landowners whose houses back on to the steps can also apply for funding to maintain their properties as part of the project.

Information boards where people can scan their smartphones and download historic information about the steps will also be put up.

The scheme is being fronted by Bridgnorth Civic Society which successfully applied for a £45,000 grant through Shropshire Council’s Market Town’s Revitlaisation Scheme.

It is hoped further money will follow from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Bridgnorth Town Council and Shropshire Council.

Civic society chairman, Dr Chris Jephcott, said: “It has great potential to yield real improvements for the town.

“With Shropshire Council we have drawn up a comprehensive programme of improvements for the Castle Walk and the steps; unique and important features of Bridgnorth that have not had the publicity and attention they deserve.”

Tom Brettell, Senior Community Action Officer at Shropshire Council, said: “This is one of the first big projects to come to fruition using the martet town’s revitalisation programme.

“We will begin a programme of physical works in the next two weeks to improve the structure of the steps, starting with St Leonard’s.

“Where needed the cobbles will be repaved and replaced. We’ll be using the same materials to make sure it’s in keeping with the surroudings.

“Some money is available to assist landowners with properties that come up to the steps to remove plants and weeds.”

Mr Brettell said the council was also aware of litter problems around the Castle Walk.

He said: “We’re still looking at the best way to tackle the rubbish issue but we want it to be more than just a litter picking exercise.

“The issues with the walk and the steps were raised through the Bridgnorth Town Plan and that’s why we are tackling them.”

Plans are also in place to develop an interpretation scheme for the steps.

Mr Brettell said: “This is a really exciting project. We had a graduate working for us, Laura McIver, who conducted interviews with generations of families whose properties have backed on to the steps.

“She has done a great job collating all the information. As well as reading about it on boards we’re also setting up a device which can be scanned and stored to you mobile phone.”

For details about the project or to apply for funding, call Mr Brettell on 01746 713209 or 07582 002012.

James Fisher