THE local tourism association fears the closure of a popular footbridge in Lydbrook is damaging the local economy.
The former Lydbrook Railway Bridge connects Welsh Bicknor, in Herefordshire, to the Forest of Dean but has been closed over a year due to safety concerns after falling into disrepair.
The Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association unanimously agreed that the impact the closure is having an effect on many businesses in the area.
Stuart Chaplin, manager of the Wye Valley Youth Hostel, said: “Our trading season has just begun and we know many of our customers would use the bridge if it were open.
“In the past many visitors would travel across to the pubs and restaurants across the river and that’s just not possible now without taking a big detour.”
Lydbrook and Ruardean district councillor Sid Phelps (Green) has been campaigning for the bridge to be reopened since he was elected earlier this year.
“The footbridge is a vital link in the long-distance Wye Valley walk,” he said. “Many tourists and residents used the bridge before it was closed.
“The bridge was designed to hold the weight of steam trains going across it. Surely making it secure for people to walk across it can’t be that complicated.”
Kath Howarth, area highways manager at Gloucestershire County Council said: “Investigations into possible future options for Lydbrook footbridge are still in progress.
“Safety has to be our number one priority: the condition of the bridge is of serious concern due to its age, and the area remains fenced off to protect the public.”