Lewes Castle wall collapse: Council gives update on incident

An investigation is underway following the collapse of a wall near Lewes Castle.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 6:15 pm

The flint wall, thought to be 1,000 years old, collapsed into a resident’s garden and against the Old Coach House yesterday, prompting a multi-agency response. Fortunately, no-one was injured in the incident.

The barbican and museum have reopened today. The South Tower remains closed.

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Lewes Castle wall collapse: Here’s what we know so far

A spokesman for Lewes District Council said: “A team of structural engineers will continue their investigations into yesterday’s (Monday) collapse of a wall in Castleditch Lane, Lewes.

“The wall did not form part of Lewes Castle, but is believed to be centuries old.

“East Sussex Fire and Rescue has handed the site back to Lewes District Council.

A photo taken with a drone in Lewes yesterday (November 11)

“Police are erecting barriers and the public are requested to stay away during the investigations.

“Council officers will be updating local residents and nearby shopkeepers during the day.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “This heritage site is under multiple ownership and stewardship and we can confirm that sections of the heritage wall were transferred to us in 1975 and we hold responsibility for these sections under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Act 1979.

“We will be working closely with the affected households, emergency services and colleagues at Lewes District Council to assess the reasons for the collapse.

Emergency services at the scene in Lewes yesterday

“The county council undertook survey, repairs and strengthening works to this section of the wall in 2017 under Scheduled Monument planning and building approvals, but we are not aware of any more recent activity that may have led to this collapse. Further investigation is underway.”

The Sussex Archaeological Society confirmed that the castle and museum have reopened.

Debbie Matthews, marketing officer, said: “The Sussex Archaeological Society can confirm that Lewes Castle and Museum has reopened following the collapse of a separate standalone section of the castle curtain wall under the stewardship of East Sussex County Council.

“The castle site has been visually inspected and checked following the wall collapse and the building fabric shows no sign of loss of integrity.

“To ensure the safety of all, the south tower is temporarily closed to allow for further inspection by a specialist team. The inspection will be completed by Friday, November 15.

“Visitors are still able to visit and enjoy the rest of the castle site and views.”