CRACKS: The wall near County Bridge
CRACKS: The wall near County Bridge

CONCERNS about the structural condition of an approach wall to the County Bridge have been raised.
Startforth Parish Council agreed to contact officials at Durham to highlight the issue after receiving a letter from a concern resident.
Clerk Judith Mashiter told members at this month’s meeting that a resident had originally reported the issue to Durham County Council in 2013 but had not received a response from them.
The stone bridge, which is a grade I-listed structure, dates to the 16th century and has been extensively repaired in the past due to damage caused by traffic.
The three-metre long diagonal crack has continued to spread. Mortar has washed out from between the stone and ivy plants appear to have dislodged masonry with further smaller cracks appearing further along the wall.
Ms Mashiter said: “We have reported it [the crack] before and they have said it is structurally sound.”
Cllr Peter Worley added: “The county surveyor checks that out each year.”
Paul Watson, Durham County Council’s strategic highways manager, said: “We are aware of the cracking in this wall which does not form part of the bridge structure but acts as a boundary to the land behind.
“We have undertaken another inspection of the wall and our engineers have confirmed that it doesn’t pose any danger to highway users.
“The inspection identified that vegetation behind the wall could be the cause of the cracking and we will be investigating this further and undertaking vegetation removal where necessary.
“The County Bridge at Startforth is subject to regular inspections in accordance with our policy.
“The last principal inspection was carried out in January and our specialist consultants identified the bridge as being in good condition and structurally sound.”