In February 2023, an inspection of the East Tower at Oldway identified that planned works to install temporary support to a cracked window head would no longer be possible.

Structural engineers, surveyors, planning, heritage, and conservation specialists started to look at options to limit any unrepairable damage to the Tower and other areas of the building.

One of the recommended options was the partial deconstruction of approximately four-square metres of brick masonry, and the stone balustrading it supports.

The Tower has been monitored continuously since the early part of the year. Safety, signage, and fencing was put in place to protect the public.

A more recent inspection has indicated that the condition of the Tower has reached a critical point and immediate action is now required.

A decision has been made to proceed with the recommended option to partially deconstruct part of the Tower.

On Tuesday 22 August, from around 8.30am, Gilpins will be on site with a crane, along with conservation experts to carefully start removing parts of the Tower. The affected part of the Tower will be deconstructed piece by piece to ensure we can retain as much of the material as possible for future reinstallation.

This is not a decision that has been made lightly, but due to safety concerns that could result in serious injury should the Tower fail, we have had to take this course of action.

How will this impact the rest of the site.

  • Some car parking spaces will be lost whilst the crane is on site. We are initially expecting the deconstruction works to be completed within 3-days. This is subject to no unforeseen circumstances or complications.
  • The tea rooms and garden remain open as normal.

Other safety measures

  • The lane closure on Oldway Road will remain in place.
  • Heras fencing around the Rotunda is being replaced with a more robust solution to prevent unauthorised access. We are working with local policing and security team to prevent unauthorised access to not only this site but other sites around the Bay where security fencing is in place. If you spot anyone attempting to climb or damage security fencing, or committing anti-social behaviour or vandalism please report it to the police.

Reassuring the community

We know that Oldway is an important much-loved community asset, and we are committed to identifying a sustainable and resilient future for the building and grounds.

The recent 'Developing a Resilient Future for Oldway' consultation showed strong support for the emerging vision and proposals, which include restoring Oldway Mansion and gardens and preserving its history and heritage.

A summary of findings from the consultation report will be available soon. Cabinet will be considering all the recommendations on 14 November.

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