PEOPLE walking close to a South Derbyshire church might be in for quite a surprise - as it looks like its tower has started to lean.
Derek Elliott was shocked to glance up at St George and St Mary’s Church, in Church Street, Church Gresley, to see that it looked like it had started to lean over.
However, Reverend David Perrett has said that there was ‘no danger’ of the church tower collapsing and work was under way with English Heritage in a bid to make the structure more stable.
Mr Elliott told the Mail: “I thought Pisa had the only leaning tower, evidently not.”
Rev David Perrett said: “This has been something that we have been looking at for four or five years now and we have been working with English Heritage and architects to get to the end of the problem.
“In terms of the tower, it is not going to fall down and the structure is safe but it is the staircase inside that is most significant.
“The building itself has been checked for movement and the level was described as ‘insignificant’.
“So at the moment we are looking at options to remedy the issues with the staircase.
“But I would like to reiterate to people that the tower is not in danger of collapse and it is safe to ring the bells if we wanted to but we don’t as a precaution.”
This has been a problem that has been anticipated for some time and last year the English Heritage 2012 At Risk Register stated that the site was in a ‘poor condition’.
The church was last year highlighted as being at ‘immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric’.
A spokesman for English Heritage said: “There is a history of structural movement, including to the stair turret, as the church lies to the north of a former colliery site.
“Monitoring has been undertaken since 2008, and has demonstrated that differential settlement may be occurring between the turret and tower.”
A grant was offered in December 2010 to try and help solve the problems.