A weakening rural bridge will never be repaired after councillors refused to spend £730,000 on it.

The Bridge of Coyle near Sundrum and Auchincruive is no longer capable of carrying more than 17 tonnes.

South Ayrshire councillor Ian Cochrane (SNP) said the money needed to fix it is equivalent to 20 per cent of the annual roads budget.

Politicians decided the cash would be better spent on repairing busy roads instead. Councillor Cochrane said: “We can’t give that amount of funds to a small bridge on an unclassified road.

"I recommend a weight limit instead.”

Commenting on the future of the structure, he said it may end up being for pedestrians only.

A consultation was carried out to ask people’s opinion on what should be done to sustain its use. Councillor Cochrane, responsible for sustainability and the environment, said: “The majority of residents on the route didn’t support replacement of the bridge.”

Inspections have revealed cracks and corrosion of the reinforcement steel. 

South Ayrshire Council officers recommended the bridge be replaced or strengthened at the Leadership Panel in Ayr.

Ayrshire Roads Alliance head Stewart Turner said the bridge is inspected every month.

Labour councillor Philip Saxton said: “It is a lot of money considering we have other priorities. We should still monitor it.

"My understanding is there is a seven mile trip to avoid the bridge. The funds should be put back into the pot for priority roads.”

The meeting heard Police Scotland wanted the bridge repaired to ensure the safety of traffic.