HALFPENNY Bridge has reopened and one Lechlade local has celebrated in a particularly festive way.

The Grade II-listed structure was damaged after it was struck by a car 19 weeks ago, and locals have dealt with delays since then while waiting for the bridge to be repaired. 

That repair was finished last week and the road was finally reopened on Friday, November 3, marking an end to weeks of frustration. 

This was capped off by the landlord of the nearby Riverside Pub dressing up as Santa Claus and walking across the bridge. 

The amusing moment was posted on their Facebook page. 

It said: "Dear Lechlade. After a difficult couple of months......I now declare the Ha'Penny Bridge in Lechlade open!!

Read More: Halfpenny Bridge: Riverside pub landlord takes matters into own hands

"The road from Wiltshire is now clear with no diversions and we are at I'll open for food and drink."

The pub's landlord Gareth Chapman has been very vocal about the impact of the bridge on his business and has welcomed its reopening. 

In an interview with the Adver, he mentioned that the closure had reduced his footfall significantly, and left his venue operating at one-third of its capacity 

When asked if he was the one dressed as Father Christmas, he replied: "Yes, don't let the kids know though.

"Santa brought a special present to Lechlade today"

It's not all good news though, as a new defect in the structure was discovered during the repair work.

A hole has been discovered behind part of the brickworks at one end of the bridge but Gloucestershire County Council said it had been reviewed by engineers and the bridge can be safely reopened

However, a footpath over the bridge and pedestrian arch below will remain closed until the repairs are completed.

Speaking to the BBC, Councillor Dom Morris, cabinet member for highways, said: "I know how hard the closure has been for local residents and businesses and I would like to thank them for their patience.

"This was a complex project and I'm grateful for the hard work of our highways team and all our partners for ensuring this was completed in the timeframe set out.

"The bridge will be continually monitored while final repairs are carried out and I hope these will be completed as soon as possible."