Harrogate council tries to allay further collapse fears for Kirkby Malzeard church wall

A senior council officer has tried to allay concerns that a church wall in Kirkby Malzeard could collapse again.

By Jacob Webster
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 1:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 1:15 pm
This is the collapsed wall at Kirkby Malzeard's St Andrew’s Church.
This is the collapsed wall at Kirkby Malzeard's St Andrew’s Church.

Jonathan Dunk, executive officer for strategic property and major projects at Harrogate Borough Council, told councillors today that the "appropriate" action was being taken to repair and monitor the wall at St Andrew’s Church.

The works are finally set to start on Monday after a section of the wall collapsed during heavy rainfall in February 2020.

Speaking at a meeting today, Ripon Spa councillor Mike Chambers said he was concerned that other parts of the wall which sits opposite the village primary school could give way.

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Mr Dunk responded: "We have taken professional advice from Mason Clark - our structural engineers who are used to dealing with these types of listed assets.

"Our advice was that we needed to rebuild the section that collapsed and we are making appropriate repairs to another 15 metre section.

"We are then going to monitor another section that is in much better condition and is therefore at lower risk.

"We have got the right balance."

Mr Dunk also said "time is of the essence" for the repairs which will cost £491,670 and mean the collapsed wall is no longer blocking Church Street.

He said: "The road has been closed for two years - it is causing inconvenience and we need to address that quickly.

"The longer the wall is left unprepared, then there is a risk of further collapse."

The works will involve a five metre high section of the wall being rebuilt, while steel rods will also be driven into the surface for reinforcement.

September is the target completion date - and the council said the works could not have been completed before now because the use of lime mortar requires moderate temperatures during spring and summer.

It also said the project required "detailed surveys and an extensive project plan" - including feedback from Historic England.

However, local councillors have accused the borough council of paying too much attention to Historic England and not listening to their concerns.

Speaking on Wednesday, councillor Jane Aksut, a member of Kirkby Malzeard, Laverton and Dallowgill Parish Council, said: "All of the work has been delayed by interventions from Historic England, who have raised concerns about the ‘visual impact’ of pattress plates needed to restrain the bulging wall.

"We regret that Harrogate Borough Council paid more heed to the view of Historic England rather than to the parish council and residents, who argued that a swift and robust repair to keep the wall safe and the road open for the long term, is more important than how pretty the wall looks."

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter