AN investigation is taking place after an open-top bus crashed into Clacton's iconic Venetian Bridge.

The accident happened after the bus, operated by Hedingham and Chambers, was driven under the historic bridge in Pier Gap, close to the seafront, on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the bus company said the firm is investigating the incident, which left the bus damaged.

There is thought to be minor damage to the bridge.

She said: “Following a promotional event outside the Clacton Pier on Sunday evening, the Clacton Breeze Open top bus was driven accidentally under the bridge causing damage to the front of the bus on the upper deck.

“The bus was not in service at the time of the incident and therefore no passengers were on the bus.

“We are currently assessing the damage caused to the bus and hope to put it back into service as soon as possible.

“Investigations are currently underway into what happened, and we are working with the authorities on this matter.”

A Tendring Council spokesman confirmed there had been a minor incident with a bus scraping the Venetian Bridge at the weekend.

He added: “An initial inspection assessed this as being only cosmetic damage, this was confirmed by a follow-up inspection held to ensure there was no further damage to the structure

“We are in contact with the vehicle owner around next steps, including reporting to the appropriate authorities, and any cosmetic repairs will likely take place after the summer season to avoid disruption to this area and in line with additional scheduled work.”

Clacton historian Norman Jacobs said he was relieved that the bridge only sustained minor damage.

Mr Jacobs detailed the bridge’s inception and why has been so important to the area over its 108-year history.

He said: “Before the bridge was there, Pier Gap used to have shops on either side for tourists.

“In 1912 and 1913, Clacton Council was worried about the hygiene of Pier Gap due to litter.

“Horse drawn water pumps weren’t used to clean the area because it was too steep to go up.

“This resulted in the ‘general beautifying programme’ to do away with the shops and build the bridge for the betterment of Pier Gap.”