A HISTORIC Victorian bridge that had been falling apart will be restored thanks to protestors who campaigned to save it.

Cuddesdon Road railway bridge, in Horspath, became a target for campaigners this year after locals feared it was going to be demolished.

Highways England, which owns it, has now announced that the beloved bridge will ‘be restored to its former glory’ and undergo a renovation project.

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By restoring the bridge, the highway authority hopes locals will be able to continue to use it and preserve an ‘important piece’ of British heritage.

The bridge was built in the mid-nineteenth century - during the reign of Queen Victoria - as part of the Princes Risborough to Oxford line and was in use until the 1960s when a decline in passengers led to a decommissioning of the line.

The damage worsened over time and the bridge continued to lean and fracture, which led the team to remove the parapets in February due to safety concerns.

This led to the road being closed for 'emergency proceedings' and residents feared the sudden closure meant that the bridge, which was listed as one of the railway bridges across the county set to be demolished by Highways England, would be taken down.

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Protestors from the village quickly gathered upon the top of the bridge to stop the demolition, while construction work was going on, before being cleared by police for breaking social distancing restrictions.

The noise made by locals, however, was a success, and has resulted in residents being involved in the restoration process.

Horspath locals have now volunteered to help clear up and repair 3,000 old bricks, which were removed under the supervision of resident Spencer Timmo.

Mr Timmo had been working with the residents over recent weeks to clean and repair bricks that will be used as part of the refurbishment.

Chairman of the Horspath Parish Council Peter Dobson said: “Horspath Bridge has been a very important asset to the village for many years and the residents of Horspath value its presence as a wildlife corridor, aid to traffic calming and part of Horspath’s history as identified in the 2003 bridge inquiry which was found in Horspath’s favour.

“We all now look forward to the bridge being refurbished and remaining part of the village for many years to come.”

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The work is set to begin later this year.

Matthew Irwin, Highways England Historical Railways Estate Civil Engineer said: “We are delighted that this work has been confirmed and we will soon set about restoring the bridge for the residents of Horspath to enjoy in the future.

“We have been and will continue to work closely with the local community are looking forward to starting the work as soon as we can.”