Borough given go-ahead to carry out vital repairs to Northampton landmark

Eleanor Cross, Northampton
Eleanor Cross, Northampton

Consent to carry out vital work to Northampton's Eleanor Cross has been given to the borough council, meaning the repairs can go ahead, it has been revealed.

Following concerns raised by campaigners over the state of one of Northampton's most iconic landmarks, and the confusion over its ownership, a bid was made to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport for the go-ahead for work to take place.

A spokesman for the borough council told the Chronicle & Echo on Friday afternoon that the consent had been given.

"The borough council has now received permission from Historic England to carry out repair work and we are now in the process of determining how that will proceed," the spokesman added.

The Eleanor Cross is one of three remaining monuments in the country built in honour of Queen Eleanor of Castile. Twelve were commissioned by King Edward I in 1291, but nine of the original crosses are no longer standing.

As the Chron reported earlier this year, campaigners raised concerns about the state of the cross and said it had been "ignored" as no-one would take responsibility for it.

Speaking at the time, Mike Ingham, chair of the Northamptonshire Battlefield Trust, said: "The Eleanor Cross could be one cold snap away from falling apart and something needs to be done now.

"The borough council says it's the county council and the county council say it's the borough council. They are playing ping pong with the issue."

Councillor Tim Hedland, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said, in May: “We are keen to ensure that this work is carried out in the right way and as soon as practicable.

“The Eleanor Cross is a very important part of Northampton’s heritage and it is essential that we get this work right, which is why anything we do will be governed by a tight brief from Historic England and assessed thoroughly by expert conservators before being done.

“I’m sure the last thing anyone wants is for us to rush into anything, however good the intention, and end up doing more damage than we aim to prevent with this maintenance work.”