Repairs to the iconic Beadnell limekilns are being planned after concerns were raised about the dangers of the structure
It follows the partial collapse of the most southerly kiln on the seaward side and concerns about previous repairs which has left reinforced concrete beams exposed to the elements.
The National Trust has submitted a planning application seeking permission to carry out the work on the Grade II listed kilns, now used as stores by local fishermen.
A report to planners states: “The condition of the concrete is dangerous and the National Trust wish to carry out a permanent repair to the front beam and the concrete slab both for reasons of public safety and to enable this area to be opened up to the public.
“Previous repair works of unknown date have been carried out to the kiln which involved the installation of reinforced concrete beams and a concrete slab ceiling to the front section of the tunnel.
“The concrete is reinforced with beams, some of which are very close to the surface and have rusted causing the concrete to spall. Concerns over public safety resulted in the main beam and the concrete slab being propped and the area fenced off.”
The condition of the props is also causing concern but it has not yet been decided how these will be repaired.
Two options are on the table with a decision to be made after further investigative work to dig down from the top of the kiln and expose the structure near the front of the tunnel.
If an inner wall is found, the preferred option is to dismantle the existing concrete structure, front wall and install a new reinforced concrete lintel before rebuilding the wall.
A new concrete slab would be formed at high level before the area above was filled with new topsoil to match the existing appearance. The inner wall would be cleaned, repointed and repaired.
“This option is preferred as it will reduce the loading on the external wall and remove any uncertainties relating to the existing construction,” states the report.
Works will also be carried out to repair gabions damaged in the recent storms.