THE SKYLINE of Warwick would not be the same without the tower of the Collegiate Church of St Mary – but after 300 years it requires major restoration work.
The first phase of the £2million project to construct protective scaffolding around the lower half of the 18th century tower will begin in mid-August and is expected to take approximately seven weeks.
During this period, there will be some disruption to the roads around the tower and the Church has been working closely with Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council, Warwick Town Council and Warwick Chamber of Trade to keep this to a minimum.
Church Street, Old Square and Northgate Street will be closed to through traffic at the Church at all times, with pedestrian access being maintained along all three roads.
Vehicular access to the centre of the town will be maintained through Barrack Street and along Market Place past Shire Hall. To leave the centre of town, vehicles will exit past Boots along Market Street.
To facilitate the temporary changes in traffic patterns across the town during the closure period there will be removal of some on-street parking bays to allow vehicle turning movements on streets and at junctions.
To alleviate the pressure on car parking, Warwickshire County Council has allocated the bottom two decks of Barrack Street car park to be used free of charge for residents and customers for the closure period. To access this car parking area, drivers must enter and exit through the lower deck off Theatre Street. No ticket is necessary.
Warwick District Council’s off-street car parks will remain accessible and the popular Warwick mid-week and Saturday Market will continue to operate as normal.
The church, recognising the town’s businesses, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs as well as visitor attractions, has been working with the key stakeholders to ensure the road closures are carefully planned. As a result, Warwick will remain open for business and all of its businesses and car parks will be accessible.
Rev Dr Vaughan Roberts, vicar of St Mary’s, said: “During the scaffolding work there will inevitably be some disruption to the roads surrounding the church, but we have been working closely with the local stakeholders to keep these to a minimum and ensure that Warwick will be open for business.
“St Mary’s will reopen to visitors tomorrow (July 22), so you will be able to visit us and, until the scaffolding work starts, to climb the tower. Please come along and learn more about our 900-year history, the tower project and our fundraising plans.”