VIDEO: Council workers trapped in Smithills Farm bridge row stand-off
SMITHILLS farm staff have trapped Bolton Council workers on a bridge in a row over access.
Angry staff at Smithills Open Farm are trying to stop the council blocking access to the bridge leading up to the attraction.
They have positioned two tractors and a car at various points along the bridge, leaving council vehicles unable to move since 8am.
Two highways trucks and a JCB are trapped on the bridge leading to the farm, which is owned by Bolton Council.
Bolton Council believes the bridge is no longer "fit for access".
But farm boss Anthony Grimshaw said: “They want to close the bridge but there is no suitable alternative for visitors to access the farm.
“Bolton Council wants us to bring in tourists but by doing this they are stopping us, so we are not moving the tractors.”
He claims he was notified about the closure four days ago.
Mr Grimshaw said he would not move the tractors until the council removed the bollards they had already installed, and he claims council bosses have now agreed to his demands.
It is believed additional Bolton Council staff are on their way to the farm to try to resolve the situation.
The council had previously placed temporary red and white plastic barriers on the bridge to stop large vehicles using it and was hoping to make the obstructions permanent today.
A council spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation at the farm, and we are trying to resolve the matter with the farmer.
"While we understand the farmer's concerns, our staff are just trying to do their job.
"We understand his issue regarding visitors accessing the farm and we are looking at possible alternative routes with him.
"This bridge is unsafe for large vehicles and we have tried alternative methods over the last few years to prevent large vehicles getting through, but at the same time, still maintaining access to cars.
"Unfortunately this hasn't worked, and to ensure public safety we wanted to close the bridge."
It is understood the police have been called, but none have yet arrived at the scene.
- The stand-off has now been resolved after the council agreed to remove the bollards it had installed earlier in the day. Read more here.
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