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£100,000 restoration of St Michael's Tower will begin in April 2014

By citizenmike  |  Posted: December 20, 2013

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St Michael's Tower

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Sensitive repair work to St Michael’s Tower is expected to start in April next year.

The historic tower, on the cross, has been surrounded by metal fencing for 18 months now.

But a restoration will take place from April after consent for the works has been granted.

The work will cost up to £100,000 and is to be paid for by the City Centre Investment Fund, which was set up to allocate the outstanding £365,000 of developer’s money from the construction of Tesco at St Oswald’s.

Councillor Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “A repairs specification has been drafted and contractors have been invited to pre-qualify for carrying out the works to St Michael’s Tower.

“A number of requests have been made to English Heritage regarding which type of consent is required for the repairs. We are expecting a response by early January 2014 at which time we will apply for permission to carry out the works, which will take around two months to process.

“The works will be tendered in March 2014 and the repairs will commence in April. The work required may require lime based materials and it is not advisable to use some lime based materials externally during the winter months.”

The work cannot come quick enough for some though – and plans for new hoardings to replace the metal fencing have been outright rejected for fear of graffiti and prolonging the work schedule.

Marilyn Champion, from Gloucester Civic Trust, which runs the tower, said: “Come May 2014 the fence will have been up for 2 years. This is totally unacceptable.

“Council officers did not favour the idea of solid panels as they say it will attract graffiti.

“When we were converting the building back in 2008 and we had hoardings up around the tower for some four months, nearly daily the contractor was having to paint over graffiti which appeared over night.

“It was fortunate the contractor on site was able to do this otherwise it would have looked awful like the Greyfriars hoarding and some of the graffiti was very rude.

“I don't think we would have this luxury with the City Council daily painting over the garb if we were to have the kind of panels you were proposing.

“Spending money on what may be an expensive piece of fencing may also appear to say ‘this is up for long term’.”

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