Solicitors called in as Bridgnorth Cliff Railway boss fears job losses and extended closure
The chairman of Bridgnorth Cliff Railway has called in solicitors over fears that jobs could be lost and work to repair a "dangerous" wall which has closed the railway might not start until Easter.
Bridgnorth's funicular railway was forced to close last month as a result of a deteriorating wall on a neighbouring council property which posed a serious safety risk to the railway.
At the time, Bridgnorth Town Council estimated that restoration work would be completed by Easter, meaning the railway could reopen in April.
However, the "frustrated" chairman of the railway now thinks that the repair work may not even begin until after Easter, and has blasted the council's response to the situation.
Dr Malvern Tipping said: "I've heard absolutely nothing from the town council since this whole thing started.
"I asked them if they were going to cover staff costs or if we'd have to look at making them redundant, and they said no, don't make them redundant, we can give you answers in the New Year.
"But they've kept postponing a decision and now they sound non-committal on the subject. We have solicitors looking at this in case we have to look at redundancy."
Dr Tipping added: "We've had loss insurers in so we can recoup our losses in some other way and insure that the town council pays us an adequate amount of compensation.
"The intention is for us to reopen, but there are problems. Does the town council have enough finances to do the needed work on the property?
"They said the railway would be open by Easter, but I can't even see the work having started by then. Nothing's happened."
He said: "If they'd properly maintained this wall over the years, this wouldn't have happened. The town council has neglected to maintain their property."
The closure of the railway for the coming months is a blow for local residents who use it to travel between High Town and Low Town, but could also have serious repercussions for the local economy.
Mr Tipping said: "There will be two effects; on local passengers who use the service every day to go to work or the shops, and to tourists.
"We've had a big boost in passenger travel from tourists, so this will create a big problem if they are now disinclined to come to the town. This will hit the local economy, so we've been pushing for this job to be done quickly."
Spokesperson for Bridgnorth Town Council, Clare Turner, said: "Bridgnorth Town Council are in the process of undertaking investigations, including discussing next steps with various stakeholders, including specialist engineers, Shropshire Council and, of course, the Cliff Railway.
"Once those investigations and discussions have taken place, we propose to set out our substantive position. We are keen to resolve matters promptly having regard to any professional advice we receive. However, we reserve our position in all respects.
"Please be assured that the Town Council is making every effort to ensure the investigations taking place are done so safely and with serious consideration for all parties."