Leeds loses that lovin’ feeling

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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There is no love lost in Leeds this week between the city’s romantics and the council.

Lovelocks – padlocks bearing the initials of couples – have been appearing on the railings and fixtures of Leeds Centenary Bridge for the last few years.

PIC: Tony Johnson

PIC: Tony Johnson

But, Leeds City Council says the number of padlocks has dramatically increased recently – giving the council ‘cause for concern’.

It says the weight of the locks is potentially causing structural problems and that it is going to start removing them.

A council spokesperson said: “Although we understand that people have attached them to the bridge as a sign of affection, the locks can cause corrosion to metalwork and structural problems for bridges and, in 2014 part of a bridge in Paris collapsed due to the weight.

“The number of locks fixed to the bridge in Leeds is now significant and after careful consideration it has been concluded that in order to avoid any future safety or maintenance issues they should be removed.

“We are planning to take away all the ‘love locks’ during September.

“The bridge will remain open to pedestrians while the work is done.”

Should anyone wish to reclaim their love lock, they will be at the Highways and Transportation Service offices, Middleton Ring Road for three months, before being recycled. Contact Bridges.Maintenance@leeds.gov.uk or 0113 222 4407.

It is said the history of ‘lovelocks’ goes back 100 years to war-torn Serbia when a schoolmistress fell in love with a soldier. He fell in love with another woman while posted in Greece and broke off the engagement.

Women in the same town wanted to protect their own loves so would write initials on locks and fasten them to the bridge where the teacher and soldier used to meet.

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