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Urgent action needed to repair Buttercross Monument in Winchester
8:01am Monday 16th September 2013 in News
ACTION must be taken before a precious landmark is damaged forever.
That was the message today from residents, historians and politicians, as Winchester’s famous Buttercross, was cordoned off for safety reasons – after parts of it became loose.
Also known as the City Cross, the structure features twelve statues and has stood in the High Street for more than 600 years.
A common meeting point for students and youngsters, tourists often use the steps as a place to sit and eat their lunch.
But now it has had to be fenced off to safeguard members of the public after bits of it were found to be loose.
It is unclear at this stage what caused the latest damage, but there is concern for the monument’s future, and it is due to be cleaned in October.
Deputy Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Eileen Berry, pictured right, said: “We need to preserve it and there should be a penalty in place for sitting on it.
“If we do not try to protect it then it could be damaged.
We cannot lose it – it is too important and the street scene would never be the same again.”
Julia Sandison, secretary of the Winchester Archaeological Rescue Group, said: “The City Cross is a very important part of the tapestry which makes Winchester what it is today.
“American and Japanese tourists do not come here for the shopping. They come here for the history.
“I have often thought maybe there should be some kind of barrier. But the rails do not have to be round the b o t t o m .
They could be round the top part of it to allow people to sit on it.”
But Councillor Chris Pines said: “If you look at photos from the 1890s, it’s always been for people to sit on. From time to time you get the odd idiot climbing on it, but what would it look like if it was fenced off ? It’s ancient and we need to look after it, but we cannot let other people ruin it for the rest of us.”
A Winchester City Council Spokesman said: “The barriers have been put up to stop anyone sitting on the steps of the monument.
“Barriers have been put up immediately to safeguard the public. We will be looking at this issue first as a matter of urgency.”
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