Express & Star

‘Unstable’ wall at historic church's yard set to be demolished and replaced

An ‘unstable’ wall in a historic Walsall church’s yard looks set to be demolished with a new one being built in its place.

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St Peters Church in Stafford Street, Walsall. Photo: Google

Walsall Council has closed off the St Peter’s Church’s rear churchyard amid concerns over the poor condition of the wall until the issue has been resolved and the area is safe.

Now a proposal has been put forward to the authority’s planners calling for the wall to be carefully removed and a new one put up in its place.

St Peter’s Church, based on Stafford Street, was built in 1841 and awarded Grade II listed status in 1986.

Agents Baart Harries Newall said: “St Peter’s Church is Grade II listed, and is in regular use as a vibrant place of worship.

“The website lists a number of community initiative which are also delivered from the church.

“The church is in the ownership of the Church of England, but the churchyard is closed and maintained by Walsall Council. For health and safety reasons, the council have closed off the rear of the churchyard until the west boundary wall has been repaired.”

They added: “The structural engineers report by GHW Consulting Engineers Ltd concludes that the wall is beyond repair, and needs to be taken down and rebuilt – and I concur with this view.

“The wall is to be carefully taken down by hand, and the existing clay coping and bricks cleaned and stacked for re-use.

“The wall will be rebuilt on new footings, with additional concrete block retaining construction below ground on the up-hill side to the west.

“The concrete block work will be covered over by the surface of the path to the west, and will not be visible above ground.

“The wall will be re-constructed in accordance with the structural engineers details, using existing bricks reclaimed and matching second hand bricks to replace those which are lost or defective.

“The existing blue clay angle copings will be refitted, with second hand copings to match where these are missing to the southern half of the west boundary wall.”

GHW Consulting Engineers Ltd said: “The wall is generally in very poor condition with loose brick, spalling, open joints and has suffered from considerable movement.

“In our opinion the wall is likely to have failed due to it not being the correct

thickness to resist the lateral earth pressure and wind loading, lack of any weep holes to relieve water pressure behind the wall and deterioration due to age.

“The ground conditions and foundations may also have an effect given the evident rotation; however, we cannot comment as the foundations have not been exposed at this stage.

“In our opinion the wall is beyond repair and should be carefully taken down and rebuilt with a new wall designed by a structural engineer.

“New foundations are likely to be required and weep holes should be provided to relieve the water pressure behind the wall.

“The wall is unstable in its present condition until such time it is demolished, and therefore it would be prudent to adopt further safety measures to minimise risk.”