Road bosses have hinted a much-loved footbridge could be turned into an attraction rather than be torn down.

Essex Highways is proposing to tear down Curd Hall footbridge, commonly known as Dick Nunn’s footbridge, in Coggeshall after it was deemed unfit for purpose by engineers.

The bridge was closed to the public back in September last year due to safety concerns and further investigations have found there to be “major structural issues” which will be too expensive to repair.

Highways bosses are now proposing to remove the bridge and build a new one, but this plan has been met with dismay by residents in Coggeshall who are now being urged to sign a petition to save the structure, which has spanned the River Blackwater since 1892.

The petition states: “There are plans to demolish our famous footbridge and replace it.

“We must not let this happen – it should be repaired – it should be listed.

“This one of a kind Coggeshall landmark is under threat.

“We need to show the highways department how important and valued this unique bridge is to the community and ensure it is repaired rather than replaced.

Braintree Council holds a list of non-designated heritage assets run by the planning department.

“If the community show them how important this bridge is to Coggeshall residents it may help us save the bridge. Please sign and help save this beautiful bridge.”

Essex Highways is meanwhile pressing ahead with plans to replace the bridge but says it will host a meeting with Coggeshall Parish Council today to see if the existing structure can be salvaged in any way.

A spokesman added: "This very interesting historic footbridge has been recently inspected and found to be structurally unsafe.

"We have therefore had to close it for public use.

"Unfortunately it is not a simple matter of replacing the wooden decking, but rather rust and other issues with the steel structure mean that it is unlikely to be repairable at reasonable cost to make it safe again.

"As soon as we knew it had to be closed, we began to plan for its replacement to take the public footpath over the river.

"Our senior structures manager and engineer colleagues will meet with the parish council to discuss plans for a new bridge but also to assess what the possibilities might be for the existing bridge.

"There may be, for instance, a way to keep the historic structure in place locally as a community heritage interest and attraction.”

The petition can be viewed online at