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Campaigners demand faster Cabot Tower repairs

May 18, 2009

A Bristol campaign group is demanding the council do more to get Cabot Tower reopened.

Friends of Brandon Hill Hill claim the council has been too slow to organise repairs to the tower, which has been closed since October 2007.

It was sealed off after cracks were found in parts of the tower, leading to fears the structure would be unsafe for the public to climb.

Disagreements between the council and English Heritage have led to long delays in repairing and reopening the tower, with work not scheduled to finish until December 2009.

Recent inspections have discovered that metal supports inside the stonework of the tower are corroded, leading to stones at the bottom of the tower bearing too much weight and being forced to bow out.

But, as the tower is a listed building, the council is unable to repair it alone and must get the approval of English Heritage for any work.

Disagreements between the two, including mutual allegations of delays, have led to the tower being closed for so long. When first shut, it was intended to be reopened within a few weeks. Work is not now due to start until June, and not be finished until the end of the year.

Helen Lambert’s group, Friends of Brandon Hill, was formed at the end of last year in response to the delay in reopening Cabot Tower.

She said: “People are mainly both puzzled and saddened to find that this is still closed and it is very difficult to find out why.

“Had we been aware just what was going on we could have put more pressure on the council to try and get on with it. There has been some recent publicity about it and as a result of that things may be moving a little more quickly.

“I can only hope that the council will now start moving on with this on a scale of days or – as in the past year – on a scale of months, and put it much higher on their list of priorities.”

In a statement, Bristol City Council said: “Initial investigation works have identified structural defects, which need to be properly addressed by specialist contractors.

“In addition, we want to be absolutely sure that any works carried out will deal the underlying cause of the structural defects and prevent any further damage.

“Cabot tower is a listed building and any programme of works must be agreed in advanced with English Heritage.

“We are currently working with English Heritage to ensure works undertaken to repair and secure Cabot Tower for future generations to enjoy are appropriate.”

English Heritage told Original it had no direct involvement in repairing Cabot Tower and were merely consultants to a council process.

Audio: Martin Jones interviews Helen Lambert from the Friends of Brandon Hill

Download: the full report about Cabot Tower Cabot Tower (4)

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