Residents are being consulted over a proposed move to stop traffic from using a historic bridge in the heart of their picturesque village.
The bridge in Croston suffers continual damage from vehicles hitting the parapet walls, scraping them and knocking the stones out of place.
Now Lancashire County Council is considering closing narrow Croston Town Bridge to preserve it for future generations.
Due to its status as a historic monument, permission is needed from Historic England before carrying out any major repairs. Historic England says it is unusual for such a historically-significant bridge to still be open to traffic.
The bridge was constructed in 1682. It is Grade 2 listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, carrying a minor road called The Hillocks over the River Yarrow.
It provides direct access to the village centre for a small number of homes. An alternative route across the Yarrow is available a short distance away, emerging at the other end of the village.
The county council’s bridges team has informally consulted Croston Parish Council and received positive feedback on the closure proposal.
County councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “If we go ahead with a legal order to close the bridge to vehicles people will have another opportunity to respond to a formal consultation, but before we do that we’re keen to make sure local people know what we’re proposing and give them the chance to raise any issues.”
If closed to traffic, the bridge could quickly be reopened during flooding incidents to allow access for residents and emergency services. The county council said benefits to closing the bridge included improved safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.