AUTHORITIES have confirmed work will go ahead on widening Tadcaster's historic bridge, and it could be complete before the end of the year.

Reports circulated last night that Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery had withdrawn its objection to the widening of the town’s bridge.

The news has just been confirmed by Selby District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, who said work would now take place around the clock to repair and reopen the flood damaged bridge.

Councillor Mark Crane, leader of Selby District Council, said: "This is great news for the whole town, as it means that the repair and improvement works can now go ahead as planned. 

"People living in Tadcaster and local businesses have suffered long enough through the loss of their bridge and although we have in place a temporary footbridge what we really need is the main road open once more across the river.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for highways, said: "It has been a long-standing aspiration of the county council and the people of the town to improve the bridge and now we have a marvellous opportunity to deliver on this. 

"In the long-term these improvements will help our businesses and residents and also offer important structural improvements to help protect the bridge against future flooding."

As part of the repairs to the historic bridge, Selby district councillors approved plans to widen it and accommodate footpaths.

Then the brewery filed an objection and residents feared this would delay the bridge’s reopening.

It has been closed since it partially collapsed during the December floods.

Town councillor Kirsty Perkins said: “If the objection has been removed, we are absolutely thrilled.”

Caroline Wright, who was co-ordinating protests to the objection through the non-political Facebook group “Out & About in Tadcaster & Surrounding Villages” was equally delighted.

She said townsfolk were fed up with delays caused by people in the town not working together and wanted their bridge open again as soon as possible.

“We live and work in Tadcaster. We are the ones affected by all this,” she said.

As reported in The Press on Friday, an objection was submitted to Selby District Council on behalf of the brewery, which has claimed the development is “contrary to a number of important planning policies”.

Historic England had already approved the plans, providing the council was “satisfied that a robust justification has been put forward”, and said the damage “has reduced some of the historic significance” of the bridge due to the loss of original materials.

The town’s MP Nigel Adams, said: “It’s beyond belief that anybody would want to put a spanner in the works on a project that is going to reunite Tadcaster, which has gone through its most difficult time over the last year since the devastating floods. Any moves that would delay the reunification of Tadcaster will be met with absolute dismay by the town’s residents and also from people in the highest level in Government, who expect Tadcaster Bridge open before Christmas.”

The brewery was not available for comment.