UNDER existing plans for the Radcliffe and Redvales flood defence scheme, a major access road into Radcliffe could be shut off for several months.

Hardy's Gate Bridge, which historically marked the civic boundary between Bury and Radcliffe, could be closed for as long as 18 months.

The bridge, which carries Dumers Lane from Bury into Radcliffe, is expected to be affected by a full or partial closure from March next year.

Peter Costello, Flood and Coastal Risk Team Leader with the Environment Agency, said: "We are working with Bury Council on the Hardy's Bridge closure.

"We are looking at gas, water, electricity and sewage.

"From a health and safety point of view, we are probably looking at a 10 to 11-month closure.A partial closure could be 15 to 18 months.

"That is going to be difficult for the community. We recognise this will be an inconvenience.

"We are doing our best to speak with residents about the plans.

"During our consultation sessions, there has been an understanding from people that this has to be done right."