Work on the reconstruction one of Cheshire’s most loved and historic landmarks could be completed by Christmas – almost a year after a car ploughed into it and reduced it to rubble.
The community of Sandiway, near Northwich, were left in shock when a red Corsa smashed into the iconic Round Tower lodge on November 14 last year, damaging it beyond repair.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) were forced to demolish the Grade II-listed structure, which stood central to the village since the 1800s, due to safety reasons but it could stand proud again, subject to approval by the Secretary of State.
CWaC has submitted its application to reconstruct the landmark structure after granting it planning and listed building consent, and it will now go to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for final determination.
If approved, work will begin on September 15 and be completed in December, using as many of the tower’s original sandstone blocks as the council were able to recover.
However, some sections need to be replaced, particularly in the east side of the nineteenth century tower, which bore the brunt of the impact, and tendering process is currently underway to recruit a specialist heritage contractor to carry out what the council describe as ‘a delicate project’.
Cllr Charles Fifield (Con), representing the Weaver and Cuddington ward, said: “The council stated its commitment from the outset to reinstate this cherished landmark and I’m delighted we are on track to return it to its rightful place by Christmas.
“Our property and conservation officers have prepared a detailed application to the Secretary of State with a full description of the original building and our plans for reconstruction.
“It outlines the traditional methods and materials that will be used, including the reuse of as much original fabric as possible.
“We’re hopeful of a positive outcome within the next four weeks, which will allow us to reconstruct the walls during September and October when the weather is expected to be suitable for the specialist techniques required.”
A Traffic Regulation Order has been published, advising motorists that the gap in the central reservation of the A556 at its junction with Norley Road will be closed for the duration of the works, with signed diversions in place.
It also includes the introduction of temporary speed limits on a section of the A556, including a temporary 50mph limit in place on the westbound carriageway from the Whitegate flyover to the existing 40mph limit. A 40mph limit will also be in place on the eastbound carriageway for 100 metres.
The 50-year-old female driver whose car caused the damage was briefly hospitalised after the incident, with only minor injuries.