CONCERNS are being expressed about the length of time it is taking for Warwickshire County Council to recover the £390,000 cost of repairing Bidford-on-Avon Bridge after it was severely damaged by a crop-sprayer.
The bridge — which dates back to medieval times — was partially destroyed in June 2015 when the agricultural vehicle crashed into a wall of the structure and sent masonry flying into the River Avon below.
The police decided no law had been broken and no charges were brought against the driver. But the bridge had to be closed for several months while specialist repair work was carried out.
Closure of the bridge – particularly for such a long period – caused serious inconvenience to traders in the village and to motorists who used it on a regular basis.
The situation even led to local traders getting together and forming Bidford Chamber of Trade and Commerce as a body that could speak with one voice on their behalf.
As a result of the matter never being brought to court no-one has any idea what caused the accident. However, it was generally assumed there would be no problem retrieving the cost of the repair bill from the driver’s insurance company because it seemed like an open-and-shut case.
However, more than a year later, the taxpayers are still waiting to get their money back.
A spokesman for Warwickshire County Council — which was the highways authority responsible for overseeing the repair work — told the Herald: “Warwickshire County Council solicitors are still in discussions with the other side. “To reveal any further information at this stage could be prejudicial to the process. We will, of course, keep you and your readers updated when an outcome is reached.”
But Patrick Marshall, the chairman of Bidford Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “I can’t understand why the insurance company are making a fuss about it.
“The farmer was not doing anything illegal and had an accident. I can’t see why they’re not paying up.”