The Trust is immensely pleased to see the commencement of works on the restoration and beautification of Wellington Front.
This listed monument constitutes a major part of the City Walls and has been in dire need of investment for decades. The Government took the project to the DPC in 2012 and since this time major infrastructural works have taken place to address the historical flooding problems associated with this site. The fortification itself has been tunnelled through below road level on the Queensway side to enable the area within the bastion to be mechanically drained during periods of heavy rain. Now that these works have been completed, work has started in earnest on the rest of the project – the removal of accretions within the gorge area and atop the walls, restoration of the walls themselves and reconditioning of the vaults for use by clubs and societies and to provide eating and leisure facilities and community space.
The outline planning application which includes artists impressions of the scheme can be viewed here. The Trust has worked closely with the Ministry for Heritage and other Government Departments on identifying what needed to be retained and what could be removed. In the main, most of the WWII adaptations to the top part of the bastion will be retained as will all the traverses and the shell/powder magazine. A blast wall at the northern end of the bastion has been removed so as to repair and expose a 19th Century dressed stone building and a further blast wall in the northern end of the gorge has also been removed. Any removals have been catalogued and a photographic record taken for posterity. The existing toilet block will also be demolished as will other accretions within the gorge, however original powder magazines will remain. Accretions such as cabling, pipes and rusting metal will also be removed from the exterior of the wall. As part of the project, off street parking will no longer be allowed, with designated areas for drop off and pick up only. The whole bastion will be feature lit which will bring the site to life at night also. The introduction of the cycle path and promenade along the top of the wall will open up another section of our City Walls. The old Parish Centre nissen hut building, today a Mosque, will be deconstructed once the mosque has been suitably relocated, however the plans are to leave the skeleton of the hut which will add interest to the area and also provide a shaded spot once greenery has been allowed to become established. All this detail can be appreciated in the outline application.
The project is a major heritage restoration project and one that will no doubt enhance our heritage assets whilst at the same time providing a sustainable use in terms of community and leisure facilities.