12:14pm Tuesday 26th November 2013
THE Government will decide whether Sandiway’s historic Round Tower will be rebuilt, the Guardian can reveal.
Cheshire West and Chester Council has begun work on a listed building consent application to rebuild the Grade II Listed landmark on the A556 which was demolished after a car ploughed into it.
CWAC will consult English Heritage on the application to be sent for final determination to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Clr John Grimshaw said: “The council intends to use specialist heritage contractors to carry out the re-instatement.
“Our application, which should be submitted for consideration by mid February, will have to include a full description of the original building, our plans for reconstruction and the traditional methods and materials to be used – including the reuse of as much original fabric as possible.
“We know that the collision has caused damage to some of the sandstone and one of the first jobs our conservation officers will have, is to ascertain which sections will have to be replaced when the building is re-instated.”
One of the materials incorporated is lime mortar, which cannot be laid during the winter because it is vulnerable to frost and extreme cold.
This week CWAC’s building control team released a report from a senior surveyor which revealed that the collision with the east side of the building, had caused ‘major structural damage with a large portion of this elevation demolished on impact’.
Clr Charles Fifield added: “The report demonstrates quite clearly that the council had no alternative but to take down the remainder of the tower in the interests of public safety and threat to life of those at the scene which has to be absolutely paramount.
“It states: ‘the building had moved significantly with evidence that it had shifted horizontally in several places with major distress to bed joints which had moved considerably in large areas all over the remaining stonework.
“‘There was also clear evidence of major bulging and cracking across the remaining stonework. It was also noted that the stone window frames had bowed out significantly by several inches displaying evidence of major movement’.”
The report continues: “It was clear that the remaining structure was unstable and in danger of imminent collapse with the structure being top heavy and now leaning over where the car remained wedged further stonework also dropped from roof level whilst carrying out the initial survey.”
“When the construction company arrived on the scene to pull the car away from the building it caused further collapse and contractors had advised removing the stonework down to a stable structure.”
Heavy machinery was used to carry out removal as it was considered too dangerous for personnel to go close due to large sections of heavy stonework hanging loose overhead and the unsupported roof.
Clr Alan McKie said: “As the contractors attempted to remove the loose overhanging stone sections with their machinery, the building, as predicted collapsed, spilling out debris across both lanes of the carriageways. This latest collapse in the structure significantly dislodged any lower courses of the stone plinth.
“I think the details we have now received in this report should remove those doubts, expressed by some members of the public, about the actions taken by our staff at the scene on that night.”
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