Work on protecting St Luke’s, the bombed–out church in Liverpool city centre, is set to start shortly.
A detailed survey carried out last year estimated the cost of urgent repairs needed to preserve the grade II* listed building at £500,000 and recommended that work be carried out in three phases.
The first phase would involve repairs to crumbling stonework on the higher levels of the building which is currently being held in place by metal supports. A roof is also to be installed over the south tower vestry to prevent water penetration.
The cost of this phase is £150,000, which is intended to be funded through an English Heritage grant of £74,591 with the remainder to be met out of the city council’s Building at Risk budget. The cabinet is being asked to approve acceptance of the grant at its meeting on 20 February.
Work on this phase is expected to start in April/May and be completed by the end of the year.
Future phases will include restoration work on the Tower, low-level stonework and the boundary railings to the garden.
Public consultation is to start shortly to assess what are the most appropriate future ways to use the church, which is currently used for community and arts projects.
Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, cabinet member for regeneration said: ” St Luke’s is a much–loved building which Liverpool people have shown they want to be protected and made accessible to the public. We will be asking for their views on what they think is appropriate for its future use.
“However, it is in desperate need of extensive and urgent repairs. Its stonework has vegetation growing out of it and there is a real danger of it cracking and falling. We have now identified what needs to be done to ensure it has a future and, with the very welcome support of English Heritage, we can start the necessary work to make it safe.
“Not only are we preserving a cherished building but by investing in our heritage we will reduce our maintenance costs in the future, Up to now we have been carrying out ad–hoc repairs but patching up is not the answer – we need a long-term solution which will preserve St Luke’s and allow it to be used for appropriate type of events.”
Charles Smith, Principal Heritage at Risk Adviser for English Heritage in the North West said: “We are delighted to be helping Liverpool City Council fund the first phase of much needed repairs to St Luke’s Church. As part of our partnership work with the Council, we plan to support the completion of all necessary consolidation works over the next few years, so that this prominent grade II* listed building, which is so loved by the people of Liverpool, can continue to serve an important role within the life of the city.”