A public meeting will be held next month to discuss the potential reconstruction of an iconic Cheshire landmark destroyed after a car ploughed into it late at night.
The grade II-listed Round Tower Lodge in Sandiway, near Northwich, had to be demolished due to safety fears after the red Vauxhall Corsa left the carriageway and collided with it last Thursday night (November 14), reducing the landmark to a pile of bricks.
Remarkably the driver, a 50-year-old local woman, was taken to Leighton Hospital with only minor injuries and police are still investigating what caused the crash.
But the incident has sent shockwaves through the community, with residents rallying to get the 19th-century monument reinstated.
An action group, Rebuild the Round Tower, has been set up on Facebook by villagers and hundreds of people have joined to express their shock at the incident and offer support for its revival.
There was also speculation that some of the sandstone blocks from the tower’s debris were stolen when they were left briefly unattended by contractors who were removing them.
However, Cheshire police say they have not so far received any reports of this nature.
This week, councillors and residents gathered in the village to discuss the incident and have now been given a date of December 16 for a public forum meeting which will keep them informed on the progress of the restoration, following a meeting with English Heritage.
It will also give a better idea of timescale for the project, but Cheshire West and Chester Cllr Charles Fifield (Weaver and Cuddington) said he fears it could be a ‘lengthy’ one.
“CWaC are having a meeting later on in the week with all relevant people including English Heritage as to what are the next steps to be taken,” he said.
“The next public forum is at the parish council meeting from 7pm at the village hall on Monday, December 16. It is important we get a better idea of the requirements of people like English Heritage, and a likely timescale for what could be an expensive project.”
He added: “There is certainly overwhelming support in the area for the tower to be rebuilt and this is backed by the three ward councillors John Grimshaw, Alan McKie and myself .
“The council is aware of that feeling and certainly also wants to see our local landmark rebuilt.
“However, there are many factors in this possibly lengthy process to be considered, not least of which is consultation with English Heritage, the authority responsible for listed buildings, insurance, planning and, of course, considerable cost implications.
“Some pieces of the demolished building will have been damaged beyond repair and would obviously have to be replaced during the reconstruction.
“The council hopes to be meeting with English Heritage in the very near future and have a better idea of their requirements and a likely timescale for what could be an expensive project.
“Once this vital meting has taken place we will be in a better position to advise the community on the likely timescale,” he added.
The sandstone blocks are currently being kept in safe storage while discussions on the tower’s future continue.