18/02/2013 - Permalink

Council investigates collapse of a section of Ludlow town walls

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Shropshire Council is investigating after a 10-metre-long section of Ludlow’s historic town walls collapsed near to St Laurence’s Church earlier today (Monday 18 February 2013).

Officers from the council’s environmental maintenance team have carried out an initial inspection of the damaged section of wall and, for safety reasons, arranged for it to be fenced off by their contractor, Ringway.

At the same time, officers from the council’s historic environment team have carried out an assessment of the damage, and will now carry out further investigations to determine the cause of the collapse and the work that will need to be carried out to repair the damaged section of wall.

The Ludlow town walls are one of the most complete ancient perimeter defences of any historic town in England.  The walls are some 800 years old and a significant visitor attraction in Ludlow.

Martin Taylor-Smith, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for assets, and Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow South, said:

“Council officers were quickly on the scene to assess the scale of the damage and to make the area safe.  We now need to carry out further investigations to determine what repairs are needed, and we will work closely with English Heritage on this.  We can’t give any indication of cost until we have a surveyor’s report that provides an estimate.  However, there will be no impact on council tax as any funding required will come from our reserves.”

Rosanna Taylor-Smith, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow North, said:

“Luckily no-one was injured when the wall collapsed, although a car parked below was damaged by the falling debris.  I visited the site at 9am and spoke to the contractors putting up the barriers who had been called out shortly after 3am.  In the coming weeks, whilst repairs are carried out, I hope we can keep access open to the Garden of Rest for all to enjoy, as it is one of the most popular green areas of Ludlow.”

Ludlow Town Walls have been subject to a series of collapses in recent years, with repair costs approaching £1million, which has been jointly-funded by private owners, local councils, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Ludlow Town Walls Trust was set up in 2007 to help attract funding for this scheduled ancient monument.  Chairman Richard Cundall is currently working with Shropshire Council officers to submit a further application to the HLF to address vulnerable areas along the north face.