Next Union Chain Bridge funding bid to be made this summer

View looking onto a historical pedestrian bridge

Published: Monday, 04th March 2019

The next funding bid to help restore the historic Union Chain Bridge will be made in May 2019 - and if successful, major works will start early next year.

In March 2018, a first round National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) bid to completely restore the famous structure, secured a £360,000 development grant. We placed the bid alongside:

  • Northumberland County Council
  • Museums Northumberland
  • community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge

It meant the £7.3million project could move into the next development phase to progress the scheme further, ahead of a second round submission to the NLHF. That submission will now be made by the end of May.

Union Chain Bridge history

The Union Chain Bridge was built in 1820. Is the oldest operational suspension bridge in the world still carrying vehicles, and through securing National Lottery support, it is anticipated that the bridge project can also deliver numerous benefits including:

  • cultural
  • heritage
  • educational
  • community

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services with Northumberland County Council

“The NLHF bid process is extremely competitive.  We have two years in which to submit a round two bid and over the past 10 months we have been working tirelessly to develop the project to a very advanced stage.

“It really has highlighted the close working between ourselves, Museums Northumberland, the Friends of Union Chain Bridge and our colleagues in Scottish Borders Council - making it a very exciting and substantial cross-border, cross-Council venture - possibly the first of its kind.

“We are confident that by May we will have developed the strongest bid possible for submission to the next round, so we can secure the funds needed to deliver this ambitious and exciting project.”

Councillor Gordon Edgar, Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure

“A massive amount of work has already been undertaken and over the next three months we expect to put the finishing touches to the bid documents, and to have secured all of the necessary consents from statutory bodies to enable the works to go ahead.

“This will ensure we are able to present the strongest possible application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to ensure we have the best possible chance of securing a successful round two pass.

“While the round two application will now be submitted in late May 2019, this will not have a major impact on the planned timing of the restoration works, which are programmed to get underway in February next year.”

Robbie Hunter, Chair of the Friends of Union Chain Bridge

“We are grateful for all of the hard work that has been undertaken by the project team and we all remain committed to securing the long term future of this amazing bridge.

“It is fitting that the bid for round two funding will now be submitted just before the 200th anniversary of the laying of the original foundation stone for the bridge’s construction - with the bid marking the foundation for the proposed comprehensive conservation works that will safeguard the bridge as a vehicle crossing for at least a further 120 years.”

Further information

Images can be downloaded form our Flickr page.

Drone footage of the Union Chain Bridge is available on NCC’s YouTube channel.

To pledge your support for the the Union Chain Bridge friends website.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. Find out more on the Heritage Fund website.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund