Ludlow's town walls crumbled in February 2013, but after more delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a further step towards getting them repaired has inched closer.
Protective netting was removed from the section of collapsed wall behind St Laurence's Church and site surveys began in January, but any further assessment and possible work had to be put on hold.
Mayor of Ludlow, Councillor Tim Gill said: "The town council is pleased that the delays caused by Covid-19 are behind us, and the Morton Partnership has recently appointed a conservation accredited engineer as the new project manager to continue the explorative works to yield the information required to create an engineered solution to the repair of the wall."
Ludlow Town Council has maintenance liability for the closed churchyard that belongs to St Laurence’s Parochial Parish Council (PCC). The next stage is a site investigation including a number of small boreholes to understand ground build up.
Drilling six small cores through the wall will ascertain the thickness of the structure.
Mortar samples will also be taken and analysed to inform the repair mortar specification.
Neighbouring properties may be asked to assist with access to remove the need for road side working permits.
Before the works can take place the Morton Partnership is in discussions with Historic England regarding the archaeology that must be considered as part of the application for scheduled monument consent for the intrusive investigations.
The PCC also requires a Diocesan Faculty for the works. Once the PCC receives the consent from Historic England, the Faculty application can be sent to the Chancellor for consideration. The works will begin when all permissions and access are granted.
The walls' collapse sparked a two-and-a-half year wrangle over who should foot the bill for the restoration – expected to run into the hundreds of thousands.
Ludlow Town Council agreed in October 2015 to take the lead and pay for the works, but further delays meant little progress was made until last year.
A breakthrough came in May 2019 when funding of £38,545 from the Public Works Loans Board was secured and the Morton Partnership was appointed as lead consultant and structural engineer.