Stoke & Staffordshire

Froghall chimney 'could fall' on Churnet railway

The base of the chimney
Image caption The chimney is in danger of toppling on to the railway

A 100m (328ft) industrial chimney could fall on to a heritage railway in Staffordshire, its owners say.

Staffordshire Moorlands Council added the chimney at Thomas Bolton's Copper Works to a conservation area last week, meaning it cannot be demolished.

But a demolition company has now told the council that it had already weakened the brick stack at the base.

The firm said it was dangerous and could fall on to the nearby Churnet Valley Railway and a canal.

The railway said trains had been halted as a result but the issue must be sorted as soon as possible.

The council said its building control team visited the site in Froghall on Friday and was now talking to owners Sterling Investments about how to stabilize it.

Work could start over the weekend, it added.

The railway, which operates along a five-mile route, said its official season started on 6 March.

A spokesman for the council said: "A site inspection by our building control team has established that the chimney is potentially unstable and could fall if exposed to strong winds at a critical level that it has not yet been possible to determine.

"Sterling Investments, as site owner, has undertaken to stabilise the chimney as a matter of urgency, potentially before 12 noon on Monday.

"Although it's the responsibility of the site owner to inform relevant parties of the chimney's instability, the council has been pleased to advise Churnet Valley Railway and British Waterways, which both own land adjacent to the chimney".

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