Plans to remove love locks from Bakewell Bridge leave families 'devastated'

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·4-min read
Close up shot of a heart shaped padlock of love locked on a railing of a bridge. Shot in Hamburg, Germany
Close up shot of a heart shaped padlock of love locked on a railing of a bridge. (GETTY)

Plans to remove love locks from a bridge in the Derbyshire town of Bakewell is leaving families “devastated”.

Hundreds of people have attached padlocks to the bridge in the Peak District over the past decade as a way to celebrate their relationships or commemorate someone they’ve lost. 

But Derbyshire County Council is now planning to remove them in order to carry out maintenance work on the River Wye Bridge, according to local authority documents.

The plans include repainting all the steelwork and resurfacing the deck to renew its anti-slip properties. 

Derbyshire County Council plans to allow owners to collect their lock locks from a council depot for several months after they're removed, according to the local authorities meeting minutes.

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After the renovation, padlocks will be banned from the bridge.

But local resident Richard Young has set up a Facebook page calling on local authorities to save Bakewell's love locks.

He also wrote: “Love them or hate them, love locks started appearing in 2012 and since then many people have attached love locks to the bridge, not only lovers and friends and newly married couples but if you look carefully you will see tributes to dear departed relatives and the names of stillborn children.

"The love locks on Bakewell bridge are about to removed in order to carry out maintenance to the bridge however after completion no more love locks will be allowed to be attached. This is not the issue, the problem is that no provision has been made for an alternative structure for love lock."

Gee Atkin, 26, is among those who have been left upset by the plans.

She told the BBC she was "absolutely gutted" to hear the locks may be removed after she added a lock to the bridge with her husband Alan, 69, on their wedding day in 2017.

Atkin said: "We just thought it would be something nice to do because my husband is into fish and he used to like going to the bridge to feed them."

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Atkin said it was "sad" but added: "It would be nice if they could find somewhere else for them nearby."

Frances Bell, 35, said she put a love lock on the bridge on the first anniversary of her father Neville’s death. 

Bakewell was somewhere they used to visit together, she told the BBC. 

She said: "He didn't want a grave, he wanted to be cremated so we've got nowhere really to go and remember him.

"My daughter came up with the idea of the lock and that's where we go," she said, adding that she feels "devastated" it could be removed.

Shaun Curtis, who has run a shoe repair shop in Bakewell for 22 years, also sells and engraves padlocks.

He told the BBC he reckons 90% of the love locks on the bridge came from his shop, making it a "great boost" for business.

He also told the broadcaster he thinks removing the locks is disrespectful to the people that put them there.

"I've seen their faces when I've been engraving them - especially the memory ones," he said.

"If they decide not to carry on with the tradition, there's been talk of making a sculpture out of the padlocks or melting them down and making a plaque.

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"As long as there's just something to remember them if they come back."

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council told the BBC: "We need to carry out some routine maintenance on the bridge and would need to remove the locks to do this work.

"However while the work is needed, it is not urgent, so we are in discussions with Bakewell Town Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council about the work, and what to do with the padlocks after they have been removed.

"No decisions have been taken yet and we will do all we can to promote the work to give people a chance to collect their locks."

Yahoo News UK has contacted the Derbyshire County Council for comment. 

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