Express & Star

Row erupts over who will foot the bill as Bridgnorth Cliff Railway repair work finally begins

The owner of the stricken Bridgnorth Cliff Railway has said he will "walk away" and shut the attraction if the town council tries to force him to pay for its repairs.

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Work begins on the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

Scaffolding was erected along the top of the 111ft cliff railway on Monday as Bridgnorth Town Council prepares to fix a retaining wall that saw the funicular train closed before Christmas on Health and Safety grounds.

The closure saw 14 out of 16 staff who worked at the railway made redundant.

Since then, Bridgnorth Town Council has been ascertaining who is responsible for the wall and arranging for repair work to begin.

Site manager Wayne Pugh from Garvey

Last week, the town council said that after "an extensive review of the various leases in relation to the relevant areas at the cliff railway" work was set to start this week.

Work begins on the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

However, owner of the cliff railway, Dr Malvern Tipping, has now called in his solicitors after he said the town council has told him that costs for the repairs to the site would be determined after the repair work was undertaken and he fears the attraction will be landed with a "big bill".

Scaffolding on the cliff railway

"If they try to ask the cliff railway to pay for the repair, I will just walk away," he said. "The railway does not have anywhere near enough money in the bank to pay for what is likely to be a very big bill, and my family has pumped enough money into the cliff railway over the years that we will just walk away.

"None of us in my family has taken a penny in salary from the cliff railway in the twelve years in which we have been associated with it.

"We have been operating on a pro bono basis, providing a service to the public and to the town. We have been very proud and honoured to be able to have done that. However, sometimes a time arrives when push comes to shove.

Scaffolding at the cliff railway

"If the matter of the party wall was to become bogged down in litigation we would not use any of our personal monies. Indeed, in such a situation, we would just walk away and leave the town council to sweep up the mess."

He said the town council has not informed him how much repairs are set to cost for but that his insurers’ legal team has decided to fund any legal representation for the cliff railway.

"We are now in the process of moving forward in that respect so that we may achieve full legal representation and a positive outcome for the cliff railway," Mr Tipping said.

The surrounds of the cliff railway have been barricaded off

He also warned that the current repair work to the cliff railway may only be a "sticking plaster" as the extent of the damage may be far greater than the town council has planned for.

"The amount of the wall that has been stripped of ivy is only around 10 per cent of it. We can assume that the remaining ninety per cent of the wall, which is much further away from the cliff railway, but nonetheless still above us, is in a similar state. So far, the Town Council has remained silent what will happened about that. We will be wanting answers on that one too."

Bridgnorth Town Council has been approached for comment.