National Highways look set to be forced to restore a disused railway bridge which engineers filled in with concrete.

Contractors carried out the work on the structure at Congham - on the former King's Lynn to Fakenham line - two years ago claiming it was a public safety risk.

But the work caused widespread outrage from locals and heritage campaigners, who say the bridge is a historic structure which should have been preserved.

National Highways carried out the work without planning permission, arguing it did not need it.

Eastern Daily Press: The bridge before it was filled in with concreteThe bridge before it was filled in with concrete (Image: Richard Humphrey)

But West Norfolk Council ordered it to apply retrospectively.

And officers from the authority have now recommended that councillors should refuse permission when they make a decision at a meeting next month.

It means that engineers could be forced to undo the 'infill' work, to restore the structure to its previous state.

Following an assessment of the application, planning officer Connor Smalls deemed the in-fill had resulted in a loss of "historical significance".

He argued the work did not protect the "intrinsic beauty and the diversity" of the structure's heritage and "severed its link" to its historic context as a railway bridge.

The bridge was built in 1923 but after a century of use, it had become corroded and began to develop fractures.

National Highways spent £126,817 to fill it in with concrete which it says was done to make it safe for the public.

There have been more than 350 voices of objection and organisations including Save Britain's Heritage, the Historic Railway Estate Group and the parish council.

Eastern Daily Press: St Andrews Lane crosses a bridge over the disused King's Lynn to Fakenham line at ConghamSt Andrews Lane crosses a bridge over the disused King's Lynn to Fakenham line at Congham (Image: The HRE Group)

At a Congham Parish Council meeting in July, a representative from National Highways, Helene Rossiter, apologised for the "mistakes made" by the organisation.

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Eastern Daily Press: The historic bridge in its heydayThe historic bridge in its heyday (Image: M&GN Trust)Congham bridge is one of just six which were built in the 1920s by William Marriott, engineer of the Midland and Great Northern Railway, featuring curved wingwalls.

Its fate is to be decided at a planning committee meeting on October 2.