A FOOTBRIDGE in Wimborne has been closed for remedial works less than six months after it opened.

Crown Mead footbridge, which links the Crown Mead shopping precinct to Willow Walk, closed on Monday, May 15.

The bridge, which only opened in December following a delay of nearly six years, will be shut for approximately one week so the contractors who installed it can make improvements.

The works will include improvements to the brickwork and block paving, and the application of coloured surfacing to the new footpath areas.

Lindsay Cass, head of property and engineering for Christchurch and East Dorset councils, said: “This work is being carried out by the contractors under the terms of our original contract, which provides for the correction of any defects that arise during the 12 month period following the opening.

“The temporary closure will allow for all the minor issues to be addressed.’’

The council says noise disruption will be “kept to the minimum necessary” while the works are carried out.

While the footbridge is closed, the public will be required to use the road bridge at Crown Mead, off Park Lane.

The instalment of the footbridge, which was a condition for the approval of nearby Waitrose supermarket, was a “contentious” issue, according to ward councillor Shane Bartlett, who felt “the money could have been better spent”.

Waitrose had to pay £180,000 to East Dorset District Council to be used "for the benefit of the town".

Delays were caused by legal issues, but council members hoped that the bridge would lead to increased footfall in the town.

The bridge crosses the River Allen from Crown Mead outside WH Smith to land on the grass area next to Waitrose. It includes steps down to the land on the Waitrose side as well as a ramp for disabled access and pushchairs.

Cllr Bartlett said the remedial works were “always scheduled to happen”.

“With any building or construction you have to go back and address certain issues," he said.

“We want the bridge to look its best, and we couldn’t lay the surfacing at the time due to the weather.”

He added: “People had an issue with the footbridge, but it was always part of the original planning condition for the supermarket.

“It will be fantastic to have the footbridge during the Wimborne Minster Folk Festival as there will be a stage on the land next to Waitrose, and it will link that part of the town with Crown Mead.”