A BUSY footbridge in Thackley has been closed down for "at least six months" because of a lack of immediate funds for essential repairs to make it safe.

Buck Mill bridge, which dates back to 1889, spans the River Aire connecting Thackley and Baildon and is regularly used by cyclists and walkers, and by local residents.

Despite some repairs in recent months, the bridge closed suddenly last Friday, and it has now emerged that Bradford Council has decided to close the bridge as it is unsafe while it looks at options to repair it.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Buck Mill bridge in ThackleyBuck Mill bridge in Thackley

Local councillors have urged the Council to carry out the repairs as soon as possible in order to get the bridge back up and running.

Cllr Debbie Davies (Con, Baildon) said she had reported some damage to the wooden planks on the bridge back in June, and was told the refurbishment of the bridge was planned for 2026-31.

"I am therefore hugely disappointed that it has suddenly been closed due to safety with no warning given and no notices up to explain this."

"I could understand if this was a sudden closure due to vandalism or something out of the Council’s control but this is purely a maintenance issue and it is vital that it is fixed at the earliest opportunity and people are informed of what is happening.”

She added that residents were being told it would be closed until April at least.

Local councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) has concerns over the length of time the bridge is expected to be closed - and a lack of signs in place warning of the closure.

He said: “Apparently there are safety concerns, but rather than dealing with them quickly the Council has simply closed the bridge. There are no notices to explain what has happened and no advance notices to stop people wasting time going to the bridge, only to find they then have to make a long detour or drive instead.”

He added that residents, walkers and riders who have contacted the Council have been told that it may not open for six months.

Cllr Griffiths added: “This is clearly unacceptable and I will be making every effort to get the bridge reopened as soon as possible.”

A local resident who contacted the Telegraph & Argus explained that she had contacted the Council only to be told that if they “cannot maintain a safe walking surface then the bridge cannot remain open”.

She was told that the closure will “effectively be permanent” until the funding can be found - which will need to be part of the Council’s capital programme due to the cost.

The Council told her that it was unlikely the bridge would be reopened in this financial year - meaning at least six months of closure.

She said: “It’s a very important bridge spanning the River Aire and links Thackley and surrounding area to Baildon. It is extensively used daily by cyclists and walkers to get to and from work as well as equestrians to avoid the busy roads. Walkers and leisure cyclists also use it every day, especially at weekends.

“The bridleway and footpath bridge was built by the Idle Local Board and Baildon Local Boards in 1889 to enable local people to safely cross the river instead of having to use the ford.

“The only way to cross now is by a footbridge at Shipley, Baildon Bridge or Apperley Bridge, a long detour for everyone.”

A spokesman for the Council, said “Our contractor was doing some routine repairs on the bridge at Buck Mill when they discovered the decking had deteriorated more quickly than expected.

“The likely cost is beyond our maintenance budget so funding will need to found to repair it."

He said the bridge will remain closed for safety reasons while they look at options.