A bridge over the River Tavy, which provides a vital link for residents on the Bere peninsula, is expected to reopen in about a week after urgent repairs.

In the meantime, Bere Ferrers Parish Council is holding a public meeting on Tuesday (May 7) at 5pm in the Parish Hall, Bere Alston, to address the issue of the bridge closures.

Devon County Council’s bridge engineer and Devon County Councillor Philip Sanders will update residents on repairs and on reopening plans.

Villagers are expecting the bridge to reopen on Thursday next week and for temporary measures to be installed to prevent further damage.

Resident Chris Smart, who had been forced by the bridge closure to go the long way round to take his children to Buckland Monachorum Primary School, said: “The local authority must surely now act with urgency to implement long-term and effective preventative measures.” 

The old stone bridge has been repeatedly damaged by vans and agricultural traffic, but who the drivers responsible for the damage are is unknown.

The most recent closure was due to a collision on April 18 having been closed at the end of February for three weeks for repairs after at least two crashes.

A Devon County Council spokesperson said: "Work is progressing well on the repairs at Denham Bridge but as yet it's too early to confirm when it will reopen. Work to rebuild the parapet is ongoing and the road is being resurfaced, but our contractors are working hard to complete work as soon as possible. We’re still appealing for information about the vehicle which caused the damage.”

County highways said repairs are involving specialist cantilever scaffolding will be required which is time consuming to assemble and remove. Originally officers said they hoped to reopen the road by the end of May.