A FLOOD stricken community in North Yorkshire will be given £3.3 million from the government to restore its historic bridge.
The 300-year-old bridge over the River Wharfe in Tadcaster, which separated the two sides of the town and allowed easier access to York and Leeds, partially collapsed during the recent flooding.
Residents have been forced to use the A64 to get from one side of town to the other, while pedestrians have been able to use the old railway viaduct.
Today, the Scarborough MP and Flood Envoy for North Yorkshire Robert Goodwill has announced the Department for Transport would provide £3m for the restoration of the bridge, and another £300,000 to pay for a temporary footbridge to last until North Yorkshire County Council's repairs on the bridge are complete.
The bridge in Tadcaster, moments after part of it fell into the Wharfe in December.
Structural assessments are already underway at the site, and the plan is for a pre-assembled, British-built footbridge to provide residents with access to both sides of the river.
Mr Goodwill said: "The floods in Yorkshire have been devastating for residents and businesses across the county and we have seen the partial collapse of the Tadcaster bridge split the community in two.
"We have made the repair of the bridge a national priority and I am pleased to announce that today we are providing £3.3 million to restore this important route. I am determined to ensure I do everything I can to help and this is an important step in keeping the recovery effort on track in Yorkshire."
Councillor Carl Les, leader of NYCC, said: "We are very pleased that the government are providing their support and that we have this early confirmation that the government will fund the cost of the work to reconnect the local community. We want to get life in Tadcaster back to normal as quickly as possible."
This funding is understood to be in addition to £10m pledged by the government to improve flood defences in York and North Yorkshire, including improvements to the Foss Barrier.
A Department for Transport spokesman said work had already taken place on the west side of the bridge to remove debris from the river and debris trapped by the bridge. He said work was also underway to improve the surface of the pedestrian crossing of the Wharfe over the viaduct, "with the entire length of Viaduct Walk to be reinstated".
The spokesman said the government and NYCC have worked with the military and Highways England to finalise plans for the repairs and the footbridge, and bidding was currently underway among British companies to build and install the temporary bridge, with the successful bidder expected to be announced soon.