THERE has been progress in the long drawn out job of getting Ludlow’s historic and crumbling town walls repaired.

But don’t expect the sound of worker’s hammers and chisels anytime soon.

However, Ludlow Mayor Tim Gill says that the delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is at least over.

“The Town Council is pleased that the delays caused by Covid-19 are behind us, and the Morton Partnership has recently appointed a conservation accredited engineer as the new project manager to continue the explorative works to yield the information required to create an engineered solution to the repair of the wall,” said Mr Gill.

Initially there was a dispute involving Ludlow Town Council, St Laurence Church and Shropshire Council as to which of them was responsible for the walls.

But this was finally resolved and it was agreed that Ludlow Town Council has maintenance liability for the closed churchyard that belongs to St Laurence’s Parochial Church Council.

The next stage is a site investigation including a number of small boreholes to understand ground build up.

Drilling six small cores through the wall will ascertain the thickness of the structure. Mortar samples will also be taken and analysed to inform the specification of the mortar that must be used.

Neighbouring properties may be asked to assist with access to remove the need for road side working permits.

Before the works can take place the Morton Partnership is in discussions with Historic England regarding the archaeology that must be considered as part of the application for scheduled monument consent for the intrusive investigations.

The Parochial Church Council also require a Diocesan Faculty for the works. Once they receives the consent from Historic England, the Faculty application can be sent to the Chancellor for consideration.

Then the works will begin when all permissions and access are granted.

It was in February 2013 that a section of the wall at the bottom of St Laurence churchyard slipped, resulting in some people being evacuated from their homes and put into a hotel for a short time whilst engineers checked that it was safe for them to return.

The wall had partially been weakened by water getting into the cracks and then expanding when it froze during the winter.

Ludlow’s town walls date back to medieval times and in some places little or no maintenance work has been done. There is also a problem that different sections of the wall have different ownership.

Repairs will have to be done to strict standards including the use of materials that would have been used at the time.

Lime mortar, like that used on the Buttercross, has to be used and this can only be applied during the summer because of how it dries.

No cost has been put on repairs to the walls but it will run into millions and require major grant funding.