AN historic feature of Hereford's streetscape, taken for granted by passers-by, urgently needs a new look say city heritage buffs.
With Grade II listed Venns Arch in a "parlous" state, Hereford Civic Society (HCS) proposes three restoration options worthy of the feature's significance.
Dating from 1881 - but looking much older - the archway stands over the entrance to St. Peter’s Cemetery, off Commercial Road, and was erected in memory of Emelia, sister of the Rev. John Venn, one of Hereford's greatest benefactors.
Emelia and John Venn devoted themselves to aiding the city's poor. Both are buried in the cemetery.
On John's death in 1890, the archway was re-dedicated with a plaque to commemorate his passing.
HCS favours a "medium intervention" strategy to upgrade the arch, and effectively preserve the feature in its present state, by removing elements such as cement render which impact on weathering and decay.
As proposed, this option also allows for some replacement and restoration of stonework and the application of protective preservation layers.
The two other options proposed include replacing and re-carving the archway's architectural motifs and conserving the structure in its current state.
HCS is now looking at estimates of costs that make it's favoured option happen saying that a "positive intervention" in the short-term has the best chance of reducing future costs.