Fears for minster allayed as repairs to road continue
FEARS Beverley Minister could be affected by subsidence have proven unfounded.
Keldgate, which runs directly past the town's most famous landmark, is shut while workmen investigate a void under the road.
It was first identified after a wall at Keldgate Manor developed a crack.
But work on repairs have identified underground problems, probably caused by rushing water from a spring or a fractured pipe.
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The proximity to Beverley Minster raised concerns that it might also be affected.
But minster vicar Reverend Jeremy Fletcher said: "I don't think those kinds of drains go under the minster or around it.
"We monitor movement in the minster. We have carbon fibre rods to measure any movement.
"No one has come screaming to us, saying that a wall has moved a large amount."
As the minster is built on marshland, subsidence has always been a worry.
In 2010, engineers installed equipment worth £10,000 that will measure movement in the roof space and give plenty of warning about any imminent problems. Minster surveyor John English said there was a need for a sophisticated early-warning system.
The equipment comprises carbon fibre tubes running across the roof space and secured by brackets. A sliding gauge inside detects any movement.
It was bought using money from the Minster Old Fund, which is there to maintain the fabric of the building.
Elsewhere in the church, repair work was done at the end of 2009 after 10mm cracks appeared in the walls of Percy Chapel.
The 15th-century structure, overlooking Eastgate, was built after the rest of the minster and has weaker foundations.
Two years earlier, £50,000 had been spent from the Minster Old Fund to strengthen the chapel's foundations. But, the damage had already been done.
Some stonework had to be replaced using limestone from the Tadcaster area.
Traffic vibration was partially blamed for the Percy Chapel problems.
Taking traffic away from the minster is one reason for the £27m Beverley Integrated Transport Plan, clearance work for which has already started.
No cause has yet been fully confirmed for last Tuesday's problems in Keldgate, which are still continuing this week.
Fears over disrupting gas, electric and broadband services have caused delays in repairing the road.