Bridges closed as £8m walk stripped

5 WEIRS WALK Cobweb Bridge closed
5 WEIRS WALK Cobweb Bridge closed

A WALK along the River Don in Sheffield’s East End that was opened in 2007 after 20 years of planning and £8m of public money has been closed at least 12 times because of metal theft, vandalism and maintenance problems.

At present, two of the three bridges on The Five Weirs Walk, are closed, with cyclists and walkers diverted on to roads.

The Cobweb Bridge, near the Wicker, built for £1m in 2003, is shut for the sixth time, targeted by thieves for metal cables and safety rails and with the council trying to replace rotting wooden decking.

The walk, pioneered by a charity, the Five Weirs Walk Trust, stretches for five miles to Meadowhall.

Mandy Williams, of The Norfolk Bridge Diner, next to the Little Cobweb bridge, which has also been stripped of metal, said: “We used to see a lot of walkers coming along here, but not so much any more. I honestly can’t believe they spent £8m on that walk.”

Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “It is an absolute disgrace that two decades of hard work by volunteers and committed council staff has been destroyed by petty thieves. Stealing metal is bad enough, but putting people’s lives at risk as well is nothing short of mindless.

“The worst part of all this is the scrap value of the metal is minuscule compared to how much pleasure the Five Weirs Walk has brought to so many people. Of course we will do whatever we can to restore the walk to its former glory.”