Historic monument could be moved to protect it from vehicle strikes

A historic monument which has been damaged by vehicles over the years is set to be repaired by specialist contractors.

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 6:00 am
The Oakenshaw Cross monument
The Oakenshaw Cross monument

Options for the repair of the Oakenshaw Cross are being considered by Kirklees Council and specialist conservation structural engineers, Blackett-Ord.

The grade-II listed Oakenshaw Cross was erected in 1702 by a local landowner in memory of his deceased wife and son.

It was reportedly built on an important location in the centre of the village where it could also be viewed from across the valley from, the now demolished, Brierly Hall.

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Over the centuries, the physical surroundings for the grade-II listed structure have substantially changed.

The monument now acts as a small traffic island, leaving it vulnerable to vehicle strikes. Additionally, road resurfacing in the recent years has seen part of the outer stone plinth settling into the road surface, resulting in the bottom step no longer presenting a kerb edge.

This has enabled vehicles to drive over the base, coming into much closer contact with the monument and in some cases striking it. The most recent incident has caused the monument to no longer be aligned.

The monument will require dismantling and transporting to a council depot for repair by appointed specialist stonemason contractor, Maysand, before re-erection.

The monument, which will be dismantled in three parts, will take place at the end of March.

In the interim, the highways team has introduced concrete blocks around the monument to protect it, also allowing the road to be re-opened.

While the monument undergoes repairs, decisions will be made as to whether the cross will return to its original and existing location or moved to a more suitable site where it will not be exposed to vehicles.

For the monument to be moved, planning and listed building consent will be required.

Both options require detailed designs and specifications to enable consultation with residents and statutory heritage bodies.

The proposed alternative site would be adjacent to the cross’s current location.

If the decision is to re-erect in the current location, additional levels of protection will be required around a reconstructed, raised base and new road signage to alert drivers.

Councillor Naheed Mather, cabinet member for environment, said: “The council understands the significance of the cross to residents and its importance in local history.

"I want to reassure locals any repair work carried out will be done with great care by the appointed specialists.

“The location of the re-erection of the cross will be consulted on with all interested parties to ensure the monument is protected now and for future generations.

“I would like to thank the community for their patience and understanding while we determine the best way forward to repair and preserve the cross.”