Seven years today Ludlow town walls fell down at the back of St Laurence’s churchyard. 18 February 2013. At a crowded public meeting a few days later, Shropshire Council cabinet member Martin Taylor-Smith told Ludlow that money was not an issue. The unitary council had the money in reserves. The wall would be repaired and soon.
Alas! That proved to be misleading. What followed was a lengthy dispute between Shropshire Council, St Laurence’s Church and Ludlow Town Council about who was responsible for paying for the repairs. Two and a half years and a lot of legal bills later, it was agreed that Ludlow Town Council had to foot the repair bill. Now it looks like the wall will not be rebuilt before the tenth anniversary of collapse.
Ludlow Town Council has borrowed nearly £40,000 to survey the walls. The survey is being conducted by some of the best heritage consultants in the country and is long overdue.
This is only the beginning. The survey will establish the cost of repairing the wall and the best way to do so. No one will know how much the work will cost until the consultant, the Morton Partnership, reports and contractors respond to a tender. No one is expecting the repairs to be cheap.
The money for the wall repairs will need to be raised. That means grants from bodies like Historic England. It will take at least a year to get the money in place. We must then work with the weather. Lime mortar cannot be used during the winter. A temperature of 5C is needed before it will set.
All in all, I reckon we are not going see the wall rebuilt before the tenth anniversary of its collapse.
Ludlow Town Council Press Release
28th January 2020
Town Walls at St Laurence’s Churchyard, Ludlow
Since the conclusion of the ownership debate between the Town Council, Shropshire Council and the St Laurence’s Parochial Church Council (PCC), it was agreed that led by Ludlow Town Council all the parties would work together to manage the necessary repairs and maintain this part of the ancient walls for the benefit of the people of Ludlow.
In terms of planning for the repair of the collapsed section, Ludlow Town Council has worked with the owner St Laurence’s PCC to facilitate the process, and consulted with Historic England and the Town Walls Trust to draw on their expertise.
A key stage has been the tendering for, and the appointment of a lead consultant/ structural engineer. The Morton Partnership have been appointed, and they have prepared a scoping report, which has been approved by the Town Council. The Town Council has borrowed £38,545.00 at 2.1% over 25 years from the Public Works Loans Board to cover the costs of the scoping work. The loan was approved by the Department for Communities & Local Government in May 2019.