CALLS are being made for repairs to a busy footbridge, which was closed down for safety reasons, to be made straight away.

Buck Mill Bridge in Thackley spans the River Aire, connecting Thackley and Baildon, and was closed suddenly two weeks ago.

It then emerged that it could be "at least six months" due to a lack of immediate funds for the essential repairs needed to make it safe again.

Bradford Council said "the decking had deteriorated more quickly than expected", and that the costs was beyond its maintenance budget, so the money would need to be found before it could be repaired.

Now a petition, led by local Liberal Democrat councillor Alun Griffiths, is gathering pace.

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

It states: "Buck Mill Bridge has now been closed since 20th October, causing great inconvenience to those who use it. Many people agree with us how important it is for Thackley and Baildon residents, to get to work, get to school, access the nature reserve, for walking and horse riding.

"It is unacceptable to wait six months for these repairs to take place as the Council suggested upon closing the bridge. We have demanded a plan from the Council to repair and re-open this bridge ASAP!

"Despite this outcry, Liberal Democrat councillors have still had no response from the council as to when they are going to repair and reopen the bridge."

So far just over 300 people have signed the petition, which can be found at

Those who regularly use the bridge, which dates back to 1889, have also spoken out against its closure and why the structure is so vital to people in the area.

READ MORE: Buck Lane footbridge in Thackley 'closed down for six months' over repairs

Christine Hardaker said: "I'm appalled that the bridge was allowed to get into such a dangerous condition that it had to be closed so suddenly.

"I find it very difficult to accept that the Council are always plugging healthy sport and exercise, and just at this difficult time of the pandemic when hundreds of families, cyclists, and horse riders need it, they are told there's no money to make this very busy bridge safe to use and must be closed for six months!

"It beggars belief that it wasn't earmarked and money found for repair back in the summer when it was inspected."

Tasha Dyson added: "Buck Bridge gives us access to the Nature Reserve without having to drive down to it. Without the bridge we will have to use the car. We also use the bridge to walk into Esholt and beyond up to Baildon without driving.

"During lockdown and now beyond we have really benefitted as a family from spending time together on walks. At a time when we need to think about walking more and driving less, it seems ludicrous that a footbridge which allows so many people from Idle and Thackley access to so many places, without driving, is closed."

Christine Alvin said: "I've used the bridge for all sorts of reasons over the years: to go to meetings in Baildon, to visit friends there, to visit the Denso Reserve, and sometimes just to watch herons from the bridge, and at night to watch bats flying over the river and under the bridge.”

When the Telegraph & Argus first reported the closure of the bridge, a local resident 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.

A spokesman for the Council said at the time: “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.