A CARLISLE campaign group has launched a publicity drive to highlight the need to re-open one of the city's historic bridges.

The Carlisle Waverley Viaduct Trust has started a poster crusade to open the bridge across the River Eden to walkers and cyclists.

The organisation has been working to re-open the viaduct for 11 years and it s aim is to "promote public access across the River Eden within the city for walking and cycling, to reconnect and unite communities".

Supporters have been asked to put up a poster in a show of solidarity.

Julie Bowman, the group's chair, said that her strength of feeling is shared by hundreds of residents who have signed petitions.

This was matched by support from organisation like Mencap, Age Concern and the British Heart Foundation , together with local businesses including Carlisle builders McKnights and Son Builders.

The city's Grafix sign makers has also produced at no cost an "evocative poster".

Julie added: "The trust has been welcomed by a vast number of independent businesses to display the posters on their premises mindful of the opportunity for increased footfall.

"On engaging with the public and businesses via these poster drops, campaigners have been delighted with the support for their efforts.

"The trust is an apolitical charity but the comments of the public are of great interest, they have a message to local politicians, council and tourist officials who many feel ignore how much we actually care about our environment and our city.

"The public are well aware of the viaducts situation, many likened it to the ongoing disappearance of many of the city’s historical assets.

"'Boarded up Carlisle' was a term used by more than one individual and many were angry in respect of a perceived disinterest by officials and lack of imagination towards the city's revitalisation.

"Most felt and said that the council were more interested in building more housing estates.

"Overwhelming support to reopen the old girl is out there, what’s not to like about the campaign to give her back to the people."

The viaduct was used for many years as an unofficial footpath until it was closed due to safety concerns, leading to calls from campaigners to reopen it as a footpath.

In March it was reported that the leader of the city council, John Mallinson indicated that significant progress could be on the horizon on the efforts to reopen the Waverley Viaduct.

Mr Mallinson said he met a representative from Railway Paths Ltd, a charity that owns and manages a portfolio of former railway land, in order to provide roads and paths suitable for walking, cycling and horse riding.

Mr Mallinson said that it appears that Railway Paths Ltd " is in a position to hold the title of the bridge, in support of the trust and to provide them with advice".

For information: carlislewaverleyviaducttrust.co.uk