Crumbling wall is eyesore in historic section of St Albans

Tim Boatswain by the wall

Tim Boatswain by the wall - Credit: Archant

A crumbling boundary wall in a historic St Albans lane opposite a 16th century building - formerly a guest-house for pilgrims visiting the shrine of St Alban - is worrying local residents.

They have voiced concerns about a 20m-long wall along Sopwell Lane, near its junction with Holywell Hill, along the Abbey Court flats.

Tim Boatswain, who lives opposite the flats in Sopwell Lane, said rendering had been progressively falling from the wall, posing a danger to passersby.

The wall is adjacent to a Grade II listed building, Crispin House, which attracts visitors as it is among the oldest buildings in St Albans city centre.

Tim said: “The wall is an eyesore, and it is hazardous. I have seen a big pile of render on the footpath.”

He firmly believes the render-finished wall is “entirely inappropriate for a conservation area where it is opposite a hostelry of considerable historic interest. A brick wall or no wall at all, with an alternative like an eco-friendly hedge or fence would be more appropriate.”

Tony Waite, a leaseholder at Abbey Court, has joined tenants in complaining to the freeholder’s agents, who are responsible for the maintenance of the retaining wall.

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Tony said that the firm which had originally built the wall several years ago has since been dissolved.

He added: “In my opinion it isn’t a dodgy wall, but the rendering is dodgy.”

Tracy Harvey, head of building control at St Albans district council, said the wall had been reported to the authority.

Herts county council closed the footpath alongside it and the district council had been in discussion with Abbey Court’s management company about steps it needed to take to repair the wall.

She added: “It has now agreed to clear the public footpath of fallen render and to re-render the wall. We will continue to monitor it and should it become an immediate danger take the necessary steps to make it safe, including issuing a dangerous structure notice.”