A road bridge in Northumberland is to close for up to a year for refurbishment.
Ovingham Bridge, which links the village with Prudhoe across the River Tyne, is to be closed to traffic from the end of the month.
The closure means residents of Ovingham will have to take longer journeys via Bywell or Wylam if they want to drive to Prudhoe.
One parish councillor last night said the closure was needed due to the deteriorating state of the bridge, but said Ovingham’s popular Goose Fair would be affected this year and next.
He also claimed a village shop would suffer through loss of passing trade.
Northumberland County Council has announced the closure of the road bridge from 10am on June 30 for up to 12 months.
Work will involve removal of the existing roadway, refurbishment of the bridges’ lattice trusses and building of a replacement roadway. The bridge’s supporting legs will also be refurbished.
The work is being carried out by the county council, jointly funded by the Department for Transport’s Local Pinch Point Fund and the authority’s local transport plan. The pedestrian bridge will remain open at all times, as will public footpaths beneath the structure.
The council has advised motorists to travel via Wylam bridge and Crawcrook while the road bridge is closed, with diversion signs to be in place.
Last night, vice chairman of Ovingham Parish Council Ian Heslop said villagers had believed the road bridge was to close last month and said he expected it be shut “at least a year.”
Coun Heslop believed the work would see part of the Riverside Park on the Prudhoe side of the river closed, and a car park created on Ovingham’s village green for construction vehicles.
Part of the Pack Horse bridge, an ancient monument, will have to be taken down to allow construction vehicles to travel to and from the site.
The councillor said Ovingham’s popular Goose Fair, the main fundraiser for its Reading Room village hall, would be affected this year and a slimmed down “gosling fair” is to take place this year, on June 21.
He said: “It is going to be massively inconvenient but the bridge is in a state of massive disrepair so the work needs doing.”