Shropshire Star

Bridgnorth Cliff Railway boss fears closed attraction could go bankrupt

A director of Bridgnorth Cliff Railway, which has been closed on health and safety grounds, has said he fears the visitor attraction could go bankrupt if it stays shut for too long.

Director of Bridgnorth Cliff Railway Dr Malvern Tipping

The funicular railway was forced to close in December as a result of a deteriorating wall on a neighbouring council property that posed a serious safety risk to the railway.

The wall is the responsibility of Bridgnorth Town Council, which says the Cliff Railway could be closed until "at least Easter 2023" as it works with "specialist structural and civil engineers together with partner agencies" to fix the problem.

Director of the railway, Dr Malvern Tipping, who has already contacted solicitors to make 14 out of 16 of his employees redundant while the visitor attraction remains closed, has now said he fears for the future of the 130-year old attraction.

Dr Tipping, said while he was "heartened" that the town council had begun excavations to uncover the scale of the issue, he is concerned that work will "drag on" too long.

He said: "If work is completed by Easter as the town council has said, that would be marvellous but I have had deep reservations that it will be done by then, but I'm heartened by the fact a few days ago engineers from Bridgnorth Town Council started to undertake excavations by the wall which is a very good sign, so we are hopeful but we will have to wait and see.

"But the big fear is that it won't get done and we have to close permanently on health and safety grounds."

He continued: "The big threat is that the Cliff Railway could go bankrupt if it drags on too long.

"While we don't make a profit we do have running costs. One of our biggest costs is staffing which is why we have had to very reluctantly make staff redundant, but there are other running costs too and I don't know how long we can last.

"We're imploring the town council to do what needs to be done to the retaining wall."

He said many residents and businesses in Bridgnorth have voiced their concerns over the Cliff Railway's closure, which threatens visitor footfall and trade in the town.

"Our staff are being constantly stopped in the street by businesses and residents and are being asked for an update," said Dr Tipping, adding: "Lots of people are very concerned. It is already having an impact on a number of businesses in the town."