The Grade II-listed wall of Reading's St Laurence Church which has been propped up with scaffolding for three decades will be repaired. The Borough Council's planning committee approved plans to demolish and rebuild five sections of the wall and rebuild them on new concrete foundations.
Plans have been approved to demolish five sections of the wall and rebuild them on new concrete foundations where necessary and reusing existing bricks. The work programme has been backed by English Heritage, but must be approved by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.
The wall is the retaining wall of St Laurence Churchyard. The churchyard is now closed but had been conducting burials for hundreds of years. The borough council has responsibility for maintaining 'closed' churchyards.
The church is a Grade I-listed Norman building and any work will have to take account of the archaeology of the site, the sensitivity of dealing with human remains and the preservation of the trees.
The wall was built in the mid-16th Century at the request of Queen Mary to enlarge the churchyard. It has medieval flint facing with repairs from the 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries.
A band of 19th Century brickwork contrasts with the older sections beneath. A tree fell last winter and damaged part of the wall near the gateway. The wall forms a key part of the Abbey Quarter Project which is the subject of a second Heritage Lottery bid after the first one failed.
But the wall is to be repaired using cash from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund because its repair will open up an important town centre pavement which is currently unusable.
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