There is relief in Lechlade as it appears major progress is being made on the long-awaited repairs to Halfpenny Bridge.

Specialist scaffolding for the job had to be designed and constructed, which has now been erected at the site

Expert divers, who had been hired to recover as much of the original stonework that had fallen into the river as possible, have also been seen operating in the river on Monday, September 4.

This has been welcomed by locals like Gareth Chapman, the landlord of The Riverside Pub, who has seen his business suffer because of the road closure that has been in place for the last few months. 

"After 11 weeks it's finally great to see some progress starting on the bridge," he said.

"The Riverside team finally have some hope for next year.

"We're currently planning a charity raft race and we'll team up with the Duck Race guys to do a double event at the end of June next year."

He added: "Here's hoping the rest of the work goes to plan!"

The road over the bridge, a main route to Lechlade from Highworth, has been closed since a motorist drove their car through the side of the historic bridge on Thursday, June 20. 

This has caused issues for locals in Highworth and Lechlade, and has had a significant impact on businesses in the Cotswolds town with many growing weary of delays in repairs caused by the bridge's Grade II-listed status. 

Mr Chapman previously told the Adver that "trade ceased" after the closure was put in place

He added: "Access has been blocked off at both ends of the bridge and this has led to fewer customers as we went down from 400 customers to 30.”

But midway through last month, on August 16, the early signs that progress was being made started to appear as diggers arrived at the site. 

Then, towards the end of the month, more progress had been made with a construction compound, a pathway and fencing being set up at the bridge. 

And then on the week beginning September 4, there was a flurry of activity with the divers retrieving the lost stones and contractors setting up the specially designed scaffolding for the repair. 

The bridge's listed status meant that the Secretary of State and Historic England needed to approve the proposed works, including the design, materials, and method of construction.