BEWILDERED residents have criticised the shortlisting of Poole’s £21.6million Twin Sails Bridge for an architectural award, because of the string of closures that have marred its first year.

Civic leaders met today’s announcement that Poole Harbour’s second crossing has been shortlisted for the coveted Royal Institute of British Architects 2013 South West Award with delight. However, some residents who spoke to the Daily Echo questioned the timing of the nomination.

All our Twin Sails pictures Fred Winwood, chairman of Hamside Residents Association, said: “Architects are notorious for designing things that don’t work. A bridge that is called a Twin Sales Bridge and when it blows a gale of wind has problems because the sails cannot cope with the wind force. How on earth they can recommend that for an architectural award is beyond me.”

Mary Stamper, of Baiter, Poole, said: “I think it is a marvellous bridge but because of all the problems I don’t think an award is fitting. I really don’t think it should be up for an award right now.”

Poole resident John Sprackling said: “Frankly I would have preferred something more functional. The only time it’s visible is when it’s erect, which is a few times a day. I definitely don’t think it deserves an award.”

Meanwhile, Craig Williams of Poole agreed there may be a few raised eyebrows about it being in the running for an architectural accolade.

He told the Echo: “Fair enough, it’s a pretty impressive structure when it’s in the upright position, but how can it be up for an award when it’s had so many initial problems.”

The Twin Sails Bridge, which opened amid a wave of community pride in March 2012 is on the shortlist with 18 other projects from across south west England.

Opposition includes the Bryanston School Boathouse, Blandford; the Big Shed assembly workshop, Beaminster; and Taunton’s Castle Green Bridge.

The History of the Twin Sails project Borough of Poole leader Elaine Atkinson said: “I am thrilled that the Twin Sails Bridge has been recognised amongst such an impressive field showcasing excellence in architectural design.

“This demonstrates how the Twin Sails Bridge is helping to raise Poole’s profile on the international stage.”

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for Poole’s contemporary road bridge. The structure, spanning the Back Water Channel, was dogged by a number of technical problems during its first months of operation.

Work carried out since its grand opening includes replacement of the valves which control all four barriers and road surface repairs.

During its first months of operation, over a six week period from April 9, there were 15 occasions when it was closed to traffic.

All our Twin Sails stories A Royal Institute of British Architects spokesman said: “RIBA South West Awards recognise good, innovative architecture within the region. Shortlisted projects will now be assessed by a regional jury with the winners announced on June 12 at an awards ceremony at STEAM, Swindon.”

Regional winners can then be considered for a RIBA National Award.