Should Chester bridge's love locks stay?


Lauren Wise

IT TOOK thousands of ‘love-locks’ to cause the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris to collapse on June 9 this year.

But Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) reckons a mere 330 are too much for the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge in Chester.

The council has ordered them all to be removed – and has given loved-up couples until next month to claim them.

The Leader sent a reporter to the bridge to ask people if this was the right move by the authority, or another case of health and safety gone mad.

The response was mixed, but the majority agreed that a new structure should be provided for love-birds to reattach their locks.

Janet Fernyhough, 66, of Vicars Cross, said: “The locks are such a nice idea, they’re not untidy at all and it’s a shame they’re being taken down.”

Pam Kelly, of Bailiff Bridge, agreed. She said:  “I think the idea is lovely but if it’s a safety issue maybe they should use something lighter like tags. Maybe they could even relocate them because it is a shame.”

Glennis Smith, 72, of Woodlands Close, Mold, added: “It’s such a nice European tradition, I think they should put up a different structure, maybe in the shape of two hearts.”

But not everyone was touched by the sentimentality of the love-locks.

Patricia Lee, 72, from Chester, said: “Thank goodness! It’s made my day to hear that these locks are being taken down, the bridge is part of Chester’s heritage and it’s being defaced. There should be a sign similar to the no diving sign that says ‘No locks’. It doesn’t give Chester a good image.”

Sandra Hemsworth, 62, a nurse from Australia, added: “I agree that the locks should be taken down, they look scruffy! The safety issue doesn’t worry me but I don’t think there’s any purpose to it.”

The council has defended the move saying a structural engineer’s report revealed the bridge was “close to its theoretical capacity for wind loading” and the locks must be removed to protect the public.

Queens Park councillor Neil Sullivan said: “While appreciating the romantic significance of the locks, many residents don’t believe they enhance the appearance of the bridge, particularly when they are damaging its new paintwork when moved around by the wind.”

Owners who still have keys will have several weeks to reclaim them. After removal by the council, the remainder will be stored locally until the end of the year and can be claimed by ringing the Chester Locality Office on 01244 972734.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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