A temporary footbridge at Pooley Bridge opened yesterday as part of Cumbria County Council’s £5m project to build a replacement road bridge.

The original 250-year-old-bridge that gave the village its name was washed away by Storm Desmond in December 2015.

A temporary bridge for traffic and pedestrians opened several months later.

Earlier this month that bridge was removed, giving no access across the River Eamont at the village.

Now a temporary bridge for pedestrians has opened.

It will be in operation until a permanent bridge for vehicles and pedestrians opens.

This is scheduled to happen next spring.

Until then, there will be no vehicle access across the Eamont at Pooley Bridge.

The county council and local businesses are keen to stress that the village is still open for business.

There is a free car park at the northern edge of Pooley Bridge with a shuttle bus into the village.

There is also parking in the village for vehicles approaching from the east on the B5320.

The footbridge was opened by husband and wife John and Eva Beer.

They live on the northern side of the river and have allowed the county council to use their land for the bridge.

“There’s a bit of noise and interruption to our normal lives,” said Mr Beer.

“But we thought the greater good was to let them get on with the work rather than complaining too much about the noise level.”

Stephen and Natasha Bate, on the other side of the river, also allowed the council to use their land.

Craig Mitchell is the council’s project manager for the temporary footbridge and the permanent bridge that will open next year.

He said: “I’ve been here since 2015 as part of the infrastructure recovery programme.

“After Storm Desmond there was months of disruption for the village. We are trying to minimise the amount of disruption now.

“Lessons we’ve learned include better signage to direct people into the village [from the east].”

Keith Little, the council’s cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said:

“I’m pleased the temporary footbridge is now in place and I’d like to thank both Mr and Mrs Beer and Mr and Mrs Bate for helping to make this possible by allowing the use of their land.

“The county council is investing £5m to create an iconic new structure in Pooley Bridge.

“The footbridge will keep the community connected while the new bridge is built, and will be an attraction in its own right for people wanting to view progress on this exciting project.

“I hope people will continue to visit Pooley Bridge while construction work is taking place.”