Express & Star

Council holding crunch public meeting over £750,000 Bridgnorth Cliff Railway repair bill

Bridgnorth Town Council is to hold a meeting this week to consult with residents on how it plugs a £500,000 black hole in its finances following repairs to the damaged wall that halted the town's Cliff Railway.

Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

The meeting in Castle Hall, West Castle Street, on Thursday night has been arranged to provide the public with information on the costs to the retaining wall and to propose methods of funding it.

At a meeting earlier this month, Bridgnorth residents were told that the £750,000 cost to repair the retaining wall, was larger than the town council's receipts from council tax.

Clare Turner, the clerk at Bridgnorth Town Council, told the public meeting that initially a 7.5-metre section of wall was found to be in need of repair but that turned into nearly 70 metres by the time the work finished.

Workman repairing the Cliff Railway wall

Bridgnorth Cliff Railway was closed on health and safety grounds following the discovery of the damaged retaining wall just before Christmas last year.

The closure of the attraction saw 14 staff made redundant and has affected businesses in the town. It is set to reopen soon.

However, the town council has also been left with a £500,000 deficit in its finances after picking up the bill for the repairs.

Options for the town council include applying for money from the government's Public Works Loan Board or re-claiming some of the money back from the operator of the Cliff Railway.

However, owner of the funicular railway, Malvern Tipping, has said that if Bridgnorth Cliff Railways reserves were "gobbled up by a claim by the town council" it would "would throw the whole future of the Cliff Railway into question".

The meeting, which is opened to all members of the public, begins at 7.30pm.