AN MP has criticised the delay in deciding the future of a bridge put out of action two years ago by flooding.

Ripon and Skipton MP David Curry has called for action amid growing frustration in the Kirkby Malzeard area, near Ripon.

North Yorkshire County Council planners decided to defy officers' recommendations and approve widening Creet's Bridge by 6ft.

English Heritage refused to drop its objections to widening the Grade II-listed structure, which dates to the 18th Century.

The decision was eventually passed to the Government Office in Leeds and now, to the growing frustration of drivers using an alternative crossing at Kex Beck, the decision has been passed to Whitehall.

There are now mounting fears the issue could be called in by deputy prime minister John Prescott, which could mean more delays and a costly public inquiry.

Mr Curry said: "We need a decision. We need action and really this apparent interminable machination of the bureaucratic machine is helping no one - whichever side of the argument they are on."

County councillor Paul Richardson, said: "I am not surprised there is such frustration from the people of Kirkby Malzeard and the surrounding area.

"I too am frustrated that we do not yet have a decision and yet we can't speed things up because it has been taken out of local hands.