Plans in to improve access path to Sunderland's much-loved Penshaw Monument

A public footpath to one of Wearside’s most beloved landmarks is set for a revamp under new plans.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Thursday, 12th September 2019, 09:41 am
Penshaw Monument

Earlier this year, proposals were submitted for land at Penshaw Monument.

The 70ft structure – a half-sized replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens – was built in 1844.

With 60,000 people visiting the site every year, footfall has lead to wear and tear on the monument and the route on which it sits.

Footpaths were last replaced in 2016 but have since faced erosion with water collecting on platforms and step areas.

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Now the National Trust, which manages the grade-one listed monument, has lodged a formal planning application to help safeguard its future.

Documents submitted to Sunderland City Council outline the project for the south east route.

This includes rebuilding the footpath with materials to help prevent surface water flooding.

A Design and Access statement reads: “It is evident that the current path has no free draining properties, it retains water which in time undermines the step units.

“This has resulted in differing riser or step heights both over its length and also across its width.

“In so doing the erosion has created trip hazards and also significant changes in height at steps to an uncomfortable level.

“The weathering, wear and tear of the path in its current form over a relative short period of time is excessive and it is inherently of limited life.

“The fundamental principle of the proposal is to provide a low maintenance solution, sympathetic to the nature and values of the site whilst at same time being hardwearing and practical.”

The funding is part of £225million Environment Designated Fund which invests in projects beyond traditional road building and maintenance schemes.

The National Trust adds that removing the path is “neither desirable nor possible” as the public will continue to use established route.

Although the proposals will reduce the number of steps, they aims to create a path of “higher engineering standard”.

A final decision on the footpath revamp is expected by early November.

Public comments can be made until September 30.