A BRIDGE which would connect riverside parts of Truro and is already being described as “iconic” has been saved after the financial impact of inflation and soaring construction costs threatened its future.

However, plans for another pedestrian bridge linking Town Quay on Morlaix Avenue with Garras Wharf car park have been scrapped, and the funds diverted to secure the future of the lifting bridge between Lighterage Quay and Boscawen Park.

Truro Town Deal Board stated last week that the £23.6m funding it received from the Government to revitalise the city had been cut by a third in real terms due to the cost-of-living crisis.

It was feared that the bridge connecting Newham and Boscawen Park would now be lost. A planning application has already been submitted to Cornwall Council for the new ‘bascule’-type bridge, which has been called “iconic” by the board and is seen as a vital part of a project to create a connecting loop throughout the city for pedestrians and cyclists.

Sensing potential problems ahead, Truro City Council voted to “inform the Town Deal Board and Cornwall Council, both the project ‘lead’ and accountable body, that the Lighterage Bridge should be regarded as a key priority project which, if necessary, should take precedence in the event that reductions to the programme have to be made due to changing financial circumstances”.

At a Town Deal Board meeting, members voted 12 to three to forge ahead with the Lighterage Quay lifting bridge.

The board agreed to relocate funds earmarked for the bridge linking Town Quay and Garras Wharf car park to the Lighterage bridge scheme, with a contribution towards the removal of the derelict Compton Castle boat on Lemon Quay.

Truro Town Deal chairman Alan Stanhope said: “This important decision means we can forge ahead with the bridge’s development, which is due for completion by March 2026.

“We are also looking forward to the removal of the Compton Castle, but more importantly how our investment will enhance that area. Improvements to the southern end of Lemon Quay will further connect the city centre with the river and bring an economic boost to businesses based there.”

A spokesperson for Truro City Council welcomed the Town Deal Board’s decision to prioritise the lifting bridge project.

“Not only will the new bridge help to complete the Truro Loops project, encouraging more residents and families to walk and cycle in and around our Great Little City, it will also create a safe and attractive direct route to Boscawen Park where people can visit the Café in the Park and will be able to take advantage of the new and improved indoor and outdoor sports and leisure facilities which will be provided at the new Boscawen Sport and Recreation Hub.”

The three other town deal plans in Cornwall have also responded to the impact on their plans by the economic downturn.

Camborne Town Deal has received £23.7m funding. Cllr John Cosgrove, vice-chair of the board, said despite “financial challenges”, all 11 projects were “progressing well”.

“Significant increases in costs have meant value-engineering each project so it can be delivered within budget,” he said. “Administrative leads have been working very hard to modify the original specifications to achieve this and, to date, these have been well received locally.”

To this end, Park Gerry skatepark will go ahead but its all-weather multi-use games area will have to wait for future funding rounds. Similarly, the performance space at the multi-million pound Bassett Community Hub will be a more flexible, versatile venue than the 200-seat single use theatre first envisaged.

A spokesperson for Penzance Town Deal Board, which received £21.5m funding, said: “In the current economic climate, it would be fair to say that any project that involves construction would have had an increase in cost, and several of the Penzance Town Deal projects fall within this category.

“We remain focused on the ultimate goal – and that is to drive regeneration and promote a town that thrives both for its people and as a destination. We are committed to maintaining this vision and are confident we can deliver on the Town Deal projects. We will continue to monitor all projects closely.”

A spokesperson for the St Ives Town Deal programme, granted £19.9m funding, told us it is now firmly in delivery mode, with construction of the majority of the projects well under way. Eight out of nine projects have signed contracts and received their first tranche of funding, with the final project signing due to take place within the next few weeks.

Work is also under way on LiveWest’s retrofit housing programme, with a planning application for St Ives Rugby Club project due to be submitted to Cornwall Council by the summer.

All Town Deal projects must be delivered by the Government’s deadline of March 2026.