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‘We need money to protect these crumbling landmarks’
Buy this photo » Oxford Preservation Trust director Debbie Dance, left, and planning and projects officer Eleanor Cooper by Rewley Road swing bridge. Picture: OX62628 Greg Blatchford
CAMPAIGNERS hope more funding will be secured to help preserve a decaying swing bridge after it was listed on English Heritage’s Risk Register. The Rewley Road swing bridge over Sheepwash Channel and the Church of St Edburg – the oldest building in Bicester – have been registered as buildings at risk from neglect or decay.
Buildings on the list are seen as high-priority preservations and this, in turn, can help secure maintenance funding.
The swing bridge, designed by Robert Stephenson in 1850-1, was a major feature of the Oxford Rewley Road railway station and is located on what is now the site of the Said Business School.
It was in use until 1984 and took the line across the navigable Sheepwash Channel, which links the River Thames and the Castle Mill Stream next to the Oxford Canal.
Debbie Dance, of Oxford Preservation Trust, said: “It has been left on its own for many years and as such is suffering from rapid decay.
“It tells the story of transport in Oxford as you can see the river, which is how Oxford started, the canal, the former station at Rewley Road and the present Oxford station. It was also the only moving bridge on the River Thames apart from the Tower at London.
She added: “We are hoping to raise more than £500,000 so we can once again show how the swing bridge worked.”
The Church of St Edburg in Bicester, which dates back to the early medieval period, has also been earmarked as a building in need of protection.
This is because the walls are very old and water has damaged the ancient stone decorations.
Diana Pettifer, lay chairwoman of the church, said: “We have applied for a £170,000 grant to the Historic Lottery Foundation and if that is successful it would help prevent damage to areas most at risk.”
English Heritage also said that the Grade I listed Church of St Peter, Hook Norton, Banbury and Grade II* listed Church of St Peter, Little Wittenham are being removed from the register.
Dr Andy Brown, planning and conservation director for English Heritage in the South East said: “We’re proud of our successes in removing historic sites from the Register as we and our many partners take care to keep attention focused on heritage at risk.
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