Highways England, responsible for major national roads, is donating half-a-million pounds toward the Monument restoration appeal. “This funding will help safeguard the future of the monument, by caring for the cultural landscape visible from the M5,” said a spokesman for the agency, annual budget £3.4bn.
National Trust project manager for the Monument Helen Sharp said ‘There’s still another £1.2million to raise but this is a big step towards our target.” The monument has been fenced off for the past ten years and is in urgent need of repair. If the full repairs total of £4m is met, the monument will be opened to the public once more.
The tallest three-sided monument in the world, the Wellington Monument is clearly visible from the M5 and seen by millions travelling through Somerset every year.
Vinita Hill, Highways England Designated Funds Director, said ‘Highways England is delighted to be partnering with the National Trust and Historic England to protect and restore the Wellington Monument. This work will ensure the preservation of the monument and will allow visitors to safely climb to the top once again.
“Speaking to M5 road users and local residents we know the Monument is seen as a gateway landmark which signifies entry to the South West and provides a reminder of place and community. It’s important that we recognise the value of landmarks such as Wellington Monument and invest in their preservation.’
The announcement was made by the Chairman of the National Trust Tim Parker at an event for National Trust supporters held at Apsley House (Number 1 London), the home of the first Duke of Wellington, now looked after by English Heritage.
Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton Deane said ‘The monument is very important to the local community and I am delighted that Highways England and National Trust are working in partnership to protect it. I’ve campaigned and supported this project from day one helping to secure the initial £1M from the Libor Fund and this announcement represents a huge step towards being able to complete the conservation work planned at the monument.’
Work on the Monument is due to start in summer 2019, beginning at the top of the obelisk to correct the most at-risk sections, and progressing down the monument as far as funding allows.
To find out more about the project visit nationaltrust.org.uk/wellington-monument-appeal