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Loan of £5.6m to pay for Ironbridge Gorge safety work

Telford | News | Published:

Telford & Wrekin Council is to borrow £5.6 million to help stabilise Ironbridge Gorge and avert a catastrophic collapse into the River Severn, it was revealed today.

Telford & Wrekin Council is to borrow £5.6 million to help stabilise Ironbridge Gorge and avert a catastrophic collapse into the River Severn, it was revealed today.

Town hall chiefs are now negotiating with the Government to secure an additional £14.4 million it is estimated will be needed for the work.

Council deputy leader Councillor Richard Overton said the stabilisation work was absolutely vital.

A total of £15 million has already been spent trying to save the Gorge from collapse at the Lloyds but no more has been done to shore it up since that work was completed nine months ago.

The Government last year vowed to foot 60 per cent of the £20 million bill to complete the stabilisation work, which would have left the council £8 million to find.

Councillor Overton said: "Now we have committed £5.6 million in our budget we hope that the Government will go just that extra mile and fund the remaining £14.4 million needed.

"We are the first administration for more than five years to actually commit money to these vital works."

Opposition Tory group leader Councillor Andrew Eade accused the Labour administration of having taken too long to commit to funding.

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He said: "We are somewhat stunned and aghast to learn that no further progress has been made over the past nine months to either put the funding in place or make any provision in the council's budget whatsoever to get on with this desperately needed work as soon as possible.

"I cannot stress enough the high chance of a collapse happening at any time that could even flood the river valley.

"I have warned the Labour administration that ignoring this danger, which is part of a World heritage Site, is a clear and dangerous dereliction of their responsibilities."

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