A CITY leader has promised repair work will begin "shortly" on footpaths in a historic park damaged during the recent wet weather.
A 75m section of embankment at Jesmond Dene, Newcastle, has given way, taking out four footpaths designed in the 1860s by engineer William Armstrong.
The industrialist bequeathed the dene, which was the garden of his house, to the city of Newcastle in 1879.
In the last 10 years, it has had £6m spent on it, including a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve paths, bridges and its popular Pets Corner.
Four footpaths on the bank between the dene and Paddy Freeman’s Park have now been closed by the police.
But Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for quality of life Henri Murison said: “Approval has been given to go ahead with repair work here and it will start very shortly.
“It is very complex fixing what is an old structure, the council had to do a full assessment to verify the rest of the wall was stable. We had to get the right contractor for the job, which can’t be done overnight.
“Money was available and we had made provision for it.
“We have undertaken significant repairs to flood damage across the city, especially in some of our cemeteries where specialist stone masons have been brought in.”
The council has already been told it is unlikely to get a significant Government contribution to costs related to flooding caused by successive Tyneside storms.
Lillian Lovelock, a member of the Friends of Jesmond Dene conservation society, said: “It’s been a substantial landslip and parts are completely blocked off,” she said, “£1m sounds about right.
“The fact that so much money has been spent on the dene recently with the Lottery Funding [means] it’s a great disappointment. We managed to sort out one problem and now there’s another.”