CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council is looking for bridging finance to repair the recently re-listed New Bridges in St Ives. Earlier this year, English Heritage upgraded the listing of the 200-year-old flood arches to Grade II*, making them historically almost

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council is looking for bridging finance to repair the recently re-listed New Bridges in St Ives.

Earlier this year, English Heritage upgraded the listing of the 200-year-old flood arches to Grade II*, making them historically almost as important as the adjacent Grade I span over the main river channel - and making £3-4million repairs more pressing.

But, with the council's bridge budget at £3.5million a year for the entire county, raising the cash is a major headache.

"We are still investigating the best way forward for the project and how we can pay for it," a spokesman said.

In the meantime, it is seeking planners' agreement to urgent £8,000 emergency repairs to be carried out in the new year.

The council needs to rebuild two leaning areas of masonry in the east parapet and the south-west corner of the bridge parapet. It also wants to repair an area of hollow masonry in an arch pier and rebuild five buttress cappings. It will use reclaimed bricks and lime mortar to match the existing brickwork.

Meanwhile, the hole in the parapet of the 12th century Town Bridge between Huntingdon and Godmanchester remains.

English Heritage has at last agreed which of the stone reclaimed from the road and river should be re-used in the repair work, but it wants some pieces of masonry restored to their precise pre-crash locations. Conservationists and masons are currently poring over high-resolution photographs to identify what should go where, the county council spokesman said.

Subject to final agreement from English Heritage, work could start in late January.

The bridge was damaged by a small lorry in November 2005, and the hole has been fenced off ever since. Much of the stone was recovered by divers earlier this year.

The lorry driver's insurers will be picking up the £7,000 bill for the repairs, which will take about a week.

A county council spokesmen said it hoped to mend the bridge without disrupting traffic flow. "Using traffic lights would be a last resort, and then only for a few minutes outside peak times.