A HISTORIC wall in Winchester collapsed early this morning during heavy rainfall.

A section fell down on the path between King Alfred Terrace and King Alfred Place in Hyde. It is close to West View House on Hyde Gate.

No-one was hurt.

It is not known how old the wall is but it contains stones from Hyde Abbey, the final resting place of King Alfred the Great that once stood nearby.

A local resident said she had raised concerns about its state with the city council but no action was taken.

The photos were taken this morning by property developer Rob Carter, managing director of Millgate Winchester.

He said: "Surprised to see this on my way to work this morning. I expect it was caused by heavy rain and the tree.

"It is probably a listed wall and will be very expensive to repair. Tree removal will probably be required and then new foundations and joining with the existing wall will be difficult."

Mr Carter, of Northbrook Avenue, estimated the repairs would cost around £50,000.

"It really is a beautiful wall so I hope they repair it properly. No doubt the conservation officer will be looking at it."

The wall is owned by the city council which has been asked to comment.

Local residents said safety concerns had been raised. Rosalind Hibbert, of Hyde Gate, said: "It was there at twelve last night when I went to bed and when I woke up it was gone. I live dead opposite but I never heard it.

"My son said it was gonna go because it's been leaning and cracking for a while. I have reported it to the council. A surveyor came but nothing was done.

"There's another part of the wall which is all bowing. It's not straight and roots of the tree are coming round.

"We were lucky little children weren't around. Someone could've been killed."

One man, who asked not to be named, said: "It was about quarter to five, my wife was awake and I asked if she heard a noise she said no. It was a bang like a car accident or something. I walked the dog at half five, the wall was gone."

A city council spokesman said today: "We are aware of the collapsed wall on the path between King Alfred Terrace and King Alfred Place due to bad weather overnight and fortunately it appears that no harm was caused to any local residents.

“We have a team on-site this morning to secure the wall, close the footpath and ensure there is no further risk to the public. The wall is of special historic interest and we will undertake urgent repair works as soon as possible. The collected stone will be recovered and stored appropriately until a full restoration can be undertaken.”

In response to the deterioration of the wall, he added: “In December 2019, Building Control received a report from a member of the public regarding a section of the adjacent wall (to where the wall collapsed overnight yesterday) and the council’s maintenance team undertook sufficient repair work.

“Today, we have arranged for the length of the wall to be fenced off and we will appoint a Conservation Structural Engineer to assess the condition and if the full length of the wall requires further attention to prevent any future risk to residents.”

Edward Fennell, of Egbert Road, Hyde, founder of Hyde 900 and Friends of Hyde Gate, said: "Awful though it is, it can hardly be a surprise to those of us who live locally and have observed with dismay the decline of care and the indifference to the increasingly squalid condition of the precincts of Hyde Abbey.

"Plans are now afoot for a coalition of local community bodies to work with our Councils for a fresh strategic approach to this site of national historic importance. But it should not have taken a collapse of this nature to focus minds on this accident waiting to happen."

The wall is also near to Hyde Gate which local people are campaigning to convert into a cultural centre.

A similar wall collapse happened at Hurst Castle near Milford on Sea earlier this year.

Additional reporting: Kirsty Dawson

Main photo: Tom Czarnota, and Rob Carter