The future of a bridge between Scotland and England is to be discussed at meetings next week.
Members of the public are invited to two consultation events on Saturday 9 February to find out more about the bid to conserve the historic Union Chain Bridge.
Members of the project team and Friends of the Union Chain Bridge will be present at Hutton Village Hall in Berwick-upon-Tweed from 11am-1pm, then cross the border to Horncliffe Memorial Hall from 2-4pm.
Information will be provided on the plans for the project’s main conservation and engineering work, as well as for exhibitions, site interpretation and educational and community events from a variety of members of the project team.
Engagement with the public is vital to the success of the project, with a second round Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid currently being finalised.
The ambitious project aims to conserve the historic bridge and is currently in a one year development phase after initial support for National Lottery funding from the HLF was approved in March 2018, securing a £360,000 development grant.
It meant the £7.3million project could be progressed further, ahead of the second round bid submission in March this year.
The bid focuses on conserving and raising awareness of the internationally significant bridge, which celebrates its 200th birthday in 2020. Scottish Borders Council, Northumberland County Council, community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge and Museums Northumberland – formerly known as the Woodhorn Charitable Trust – are working together on the scheme.
Built by Captain Samuel Brown in 1820, the Union Chain Bridge is currently the oldest operational suspension bridge in the world still carrying vehicles, and through securing National Lottery support, it is anticipated that the bridge project can also deliver numerous cultural, heritage, educational and community benefits.
A spokesperson for the partners of the Union Chain Bridge project said: ‘We need the public to help us shape this project and therefore would encourage as many people as possible to come along to these consultation events ahead of our Heritage Lottery Funding bid being submitted.
‘Alongside conserving and promoting the Union Chain Bridge, our project also aims to raise the profile of nearby attractions, providing learning opportunities for young people inspired by the bridge’s innovative engineering, and developing meaningful cross-border heritage projects and partnerships.’
The Union Chain Bridge project also aims to use the structure and its conservation to develop educational resources and case study materials for the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects from primary schools up to postgraduate level.
This would aim to inspire a new generation to choose careers in science and engineering and to follow in the footsteps of Captain Samuel Brown.