THE ruins of Netley Abbey have been closed to the public amid safety concerns.

English Heritage has decided to close the ruined Cistercian monastery after scaffolding set up for conservation work was found to "fall far short" of expected standard.

A spokeswoman for English Heritage said: “We were alarmed to see the way the scaffolding was left by the contractor. We are taking immediate steps to ensure that it is rectified. In the meantime the site has been closed as a precaution."

The charity has not confirmed when the site will reopen to the public.

The abbey is undergoing a major conservation project to remove overgrown vegetation from the walls and repoint open mortar joints.

The work is centred on the nave of the abbey church.

The project also includes the repair of three arches at the entrance to the chapter house from the cloisters.

A spokeswoman for the charity added: "These arches were built with Caen stone, a particularly soft stone which is vulnerable to water damage. To address this our experts are using a highly specialist conservation technique, using nanolime to protect the arches. Work is due to be completed by the Autumn 2018.”

The abbey is currently undergoing a major conservation project