PLANNING permission is being sought to repair and refurbish a railway bridge near Wareham.

Network Rail has applied to carry out the works to the Grade II listed Mill Stream Bridge due to concerns about its “weak” state.

The national body said its project, which includes repairs to its steel structure, would bring the structure up to an “acceptable” level and extend its life.

The brick and metal bridge runs over the River Piddle and a farm track north of the Wareham bypass and lies on the railway line between Wareham and Wool stations.

A report submitted with the planning application warns its girders are corroding and that its metallic structure is “weak” requiring work to be carried out.

Should the scheme be approved, Network Rail says it would repair the existing steelwork and install new ballast plates which would allow trains to pass doing speeds of up to 85mph.

“The proposed development would bring the bridge up to an acceptable level and extend the life and secure the restoration of the structure,” a statement submitted with its application says.

“The extent of alterations proposed to the bridge would not have any significant implication for the heritage asset.

“The design will protect traditional features and secure the optimum viable use of the heritage asset and secure its long-term future.”

Consent will need to be given by Dorset Council for the works to be carried out due to the bridge and nearby farm buildings being listed.

The statement adds that the repairs constituted “important refurbishment” and that it would improve the condition of and “enhance” the bridge while complying with planning policies.

“The works will not have an adverse impact on the Grade II listed bridge or the surrounding area,” it says.

Council planning officers will consider the proposals in the coming weeks.