Major refurbishment works are set to be carried out next year on a footbridge that connects communities.

Suffolk highways temporarily closed the Bailey Bridge between Southwold and Walberswick for two months two years ago after it was found to have suffered “severe corrosion”.

After an inspection deemed the bridge unsafe for use, it reopened in December 2018 on the completion of temporary repairs

But with the bridge requiring further "significant refurbishment works" to ensure it remains open in the longer term, Suffolk highways conducted an options study to understand the most efficient and effective way forward.

And now, Suffolk County Council and its local members have committed funds for the work to be carried out to the Bailey Bridge that crosses the River Blyth.

Suffolk County councillors Richard Smith and Michael Ladd said: “The Bailey Bridge connecting Walberswick with Southwold is an incredibly important structure in the east of our county, used by thousands, whether they’re visitors when exploring our coastal walks; or locals who shop and work between the two communities.

“We are pleased that the bailey bridge has continued to serve our communities over the past couple of years since the temporary repairs were carried out, however now it is time for a full refurbishment.

"Refurbishment of this bridge is one of Suffolk Highways’ top priorities, and we are working closely with officers to ensure this can happen in a way that minimises impact on our communities and brings lasting benefits in the long term.

“We will be engaging with our local parish and town councils and key stakeholders throughout the coming months, and will work together with our communities to see this work completed.”

The refurbishment works are due to take place in 2021, with exact dates still to be agreed.

Suffolk highways will continue to work with members, liaise with key stakeholders and communicate timescales once these are finalised, as the bridge will need to be closed while the work is carried out.

A Suffolk highways spokesman said they understood the impact that a closure has on local residents and visitors, however they added: "it is essential to ensure the works can be completed safely."