Plans for a viewing platform to be added to an old church tower in Shenstone have been approved.

The old church tower in Shenstone. Picture: Lichfield Lore

The Friends of Shenstone Tower group had submitted the proposal to help convert what remains of a former church into a visitor attraction.

The plans will see the construction of a parapet wall on top of the tower, together with the new viewing platform and access staircase.

A planning statement said the project was part of broader plans to preserve the historic building.

“The proposed work is to repair fully the old church tower so that it requires limited maintenance in the future which means we can keep it standing for future generations at limited cost.

“If we do not repair the tower now, it will fall down as it already has holes in the roof, crumbing masonry and vegetation growing up the walls.”

Planning statement

A report from Historic England said the tower had been part of a church on the site.

“While the tower has 13th Century origins and features, it replaced an earlier church known to have existed in 1129 and is reported to be built over Saxon foundations – evidence of Saxon masonry was found during archaeological excavations carried out in 1970.”

Historic England report

Full details of the viewing platform proposals can be seen on Lichfield District Council’s planning website.

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7 Comments

  1. So it’s been standing since the 13th century but is likely to fall down now….
    Can’t believe a tourist attraction on consecrated ground is anyone’s idea of a good idea.
    A viewing platform to look into people’s houses….poor people living close by
    Do not know what Heritage England are thinking.

  2. I do live VERY close to the tower, I will have no privacy in my back garden, and I will need to keep my blinds in place to stop people looking into my bungalow……or is it because I am a Bromford tenant I don’t count!!!

  3. Quite the opposite Helen H. This brilliant work will secure the tower for years to come and ultimately save it. Without it the crumbling tower would eventually fall.
    I live nearby and my garden will be slightly overlooked, but that is a small price to pay to preserve some incredible history in the village. The people behind FOST should be congratulated!

  4. I’ve cycled round this areas for years, and always find the landmark of the church on the hill at Shenstone quite a remarkable sight whenever I see it on the horizon. Now I would be able to see it from the other way round. Must be incredible views from up there.

    If it’s a real problem for local residents they should get a say in the viewing platform, however I do wonder how much people in Britain actually spend in their gardens, (especially sunbathing or something), and doubt there is going to be people on that tower 24/7.

    Either way, the tower is going to look incredible. I noticed the ruin many years ago and actually thought about preserving it somehow with photographs. This rejuvenates it, and reasserts the historical character of Shenstone village. It’s got a train stop, it might even become a visitor destination, along with Lichfield.

  5. It’s condition by the Historic England report was described as “Very bad”. To repair it to required standards would be very costly. There is then the many aspects of running it in a profitable way. Parking on church land, toilets, manning, insurance, cleaning and maintenance; all for a view of modest interest. I can hardly see a flood of sightseeing tourists making this a priority. In truth the tower is beyond practical use or repair. It is surprising it survived the building of the present church. Clearly the Church of England have not seen the nèed to preserve it in any way.

  6. I was married in Shenstone Church in 1970 and was heartbroken to see it in such a delapidated state the last time we visited. Instead of building a platform, (which would be very intrusive for everyone living nearby,) why not spend the money on renovating the tower to making the building weatherproof. Renovations could then proceed to preserve the building as a whole, eventually opening it to the public once again. Such an historic landmark building should be nurtured. We are losing too much of our history in this country.

  7. Interestingly Sandra… I too was married there in February 1970 (Rev. Ray Williams), so the church still has a resonance with us. My wife taught at Greysbrooke and the schoolchildren sprinkled snowdrops on our path.
    I do not think any repairs have been done in the past fifty one years and probably not since before the present St John’s was built in the nineteenth century. Unless substantial funds can be found it is probably beyond economic repair. Victorians had no regard for old buildings and, sadly, even we only keep them as facades when they are converted into flats or commercial buildings. Packington Hall and Swinfen Hall being two of many examples. Perhaps the fate of the old tower might be different but it will take a great deal of money and good will to make it so.

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