An historic York church is looking to make changes after concerns were raised that cyclists were at risk of impaling themselves on its railings.
St Oswald’s Church has a boundary wall next to a cycle path on Main Street, Fulford.
The wall is now in very poor condition. And the iron railings, which incorporate two sets of spikes at heights of 40 and 72cm, are considered a safety hazard.
“After a complaint from a member of the public about the spikes, the Church took advice from a health and safety expert – Eurosafe UK,” say planning documents
“The advice received was that the spikes, due to their low height, pose a risk to cyclists on the adjoining busy cycleway along Main Street, and that this risk needs to be addressed by the Church.
“The risk arises if cyclists were to fall off their bikes onto the railings and impale themselves.”
Richard Dobson of Eurosafe UK, based at Clifton Moor, told the church: “The raised risk of cyclists being sat at a higher elevation and the potential for a cyclist being hit and/or falling from the bike onto the railings should lead to consideration for removal of the spikes.”
The church originally asked for permission to remove the top spikes and round off the lower ones. But the council refused that planning application in 2018, saying that “the proposed works harm the significance of the designated heritage asset”.
Now St Oswald’s wants to modify the spikes. It is asking City of York Council for permission to repair and repaint the railings, and weld iron balls onto the spikes.
“This will allow the railings to retain their existing form whilst ensuring public safety,” the documents explains.
The crumbling wall, which was further damaged when a falling tree branch knocked some of the railings loose, will be rebuilt under the plans.
St Oswald’s is Grade II listed and dates originally from 1866, being rebuilt in 1877 after a major fire.
It’s average Sunday attendance is between 50 and 70 people.
The church runs a community cafe and activities for older people, children and tots. It also provides facilities and services for the traveller community across the whole of York.
You can read and comment on the planning application here.