A much-loved landmark in Edinburgh, known as the Pride Bridge, is set to receive over £230,000 in funding towards its renovation.
Those working to save the 1930s bridge in Leith have welcomed the news of funding from the Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme.
Campaigners say the bridge is an “important piece of local history” and helps to create a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Originally built for vehicular traffic, the crossing on Lindsay Road was closed to motor vehicles in 2008.
It has since served as a key walking, wheeling and cycling route over Hawthornvale Path.
In 2021, community members painted the crossing in rainbow colours, leading to it earning its name locally as the Rainbow or Pride Bridge.
However, in December that year the bridge, which was at the end of its lifespan and under threat of demolition, was closed due to concerns around health and safety.
Council officers have since made a successful application for Transport Scotland funding through Sustrans for the design of a replacement bridge deck, with £232,700 awarded.
The local authority announced on Tuesday that a designer will now be appointed to progress the design which will be developed in collaboration with the community.
The process is expected to last a year and, once complete, the council has said it will apply to Sustrans for 70% of the construction funding.
The work will be delivered alongside the Leith Connections project which is making improvements to community spaces.
The Leith Connections project was awarded funding through Places for Everyone, an active travel infrastructure programme backed by Transport Scotland and administered by Sustrans.
Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “I’m delighted that this funding award gives new hope for the future of Pride Bridge.
“This structure is a local landmark, a link to Leith’s industrial past and a reminder of the pandemic, but above all else for me it is a celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride. It also provides a safe and convenient walking and cycling route between North Fort Street and Newhaven area.
“Thanks to all those involved who have campaigned for its preservation.”
Kasper Schwartz from Sustrans said: “The Pride Bridge serves as a vital walking, wheeling, and cycling connection for the people of Newhaven. It not only provides a direct and accessible link to local shops, businesses, and public transport in the area, but also stands as a vibrant symbol of community resilience.
“We’re excited to be able to support the design and development of a new bridge deck, and in due course, see this important link reinstated.”
Members of the Transport and Environment Committee will receive an update on the funding award on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Save the Pride Bridge group said: “We are delighted to hear that Sustrans has agreed to fund a full design with community consultation. We believe the Pride Bridge to be a very important piece of local history and heritage, an essential safe and accessible active travel route, and a much loved community space.
“We also believe that, especially in light of rising hate crime statistics, it is really important for us to show both our solidarity with the LGBTQ community and our commitment to their safety and inclusion.
“The Save The Pride Bridge group is looking forward to working closely with the council to find a suitable solution to restore this important local landmark.”
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