Repair work to start on ancient Chester staircase

Cheshire West & Chester Council said repair work on a 200-year-old staircase linking Chester's Roman city walls with St John Street will start next Monday 4 April.

The steps, at the rear of the Methodist Church, were closed in summer 2008 after a condition assessment revealed potential structural problems.

The repair works are being commissioned and project managed by Chester Renaissance.

Magnus Theobald, project manager for Chester Renaissance, said: "This essential work is a continuation of the recent repair and restoration scheme completed on this section of the walls.

"The staircase is thought to have been constructed in the early 1800s, around the same time as the adjacent Methodist Church.

"Over the years it has suffered from settlement and movement, and the outer slender wall has bulged slightly.

"I am sure people will be pleased to see the steps brought back into use."

Restoration specialists Maysand were appointed by Cheshire West & Chester Council to complete a restoration of a 30-metre section of the city walls, located alongside the Grosvenor Hotel, which collapsed three years ago.

The repair works to the staircase will involve the installation of a steel frame which will be tied into the connecting wall. The upper landing and some stair treads will also be replaced and the hand railings will be repaired.

The council said depending on further investigations, the existing foundations may need to be improved.

An archaeologist will be on site to record any historic features during the works, which are expected to be completed in early summer.

Short term closures of the walls path adjacent to the steps are expected and pedestrians will be diverted along St John Street and through Grosvenor Shopping Precinct.

The access from the walls to the precinct will remain open. The project cost was not disclosed.

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