WORK will start soon on long-awaited work on two of Winchester finest monuments.

The Buttercross in the High Street and Hyde Abbey Gate are to have renovation work, the town forum was told.

This spring the Buttercross will have damage repaired and a proper clean to remove moss and pigeon excrement. Usually only ionised water and soft brushes can be used but the specialist work will see the monument swathed in scaffolding for up to three months, said Cllr John Tippett-Cooper, chairman of the forum's heritage group.

Information boards will explain the work to the public.

READ MORE HERE: History banner heading for Hyde Abbey Gate

Cllr Tippett-Cooper said: "It is very good news and a sign that the city council takes preservation of its historic sites very seriously".

At Hyde Abbey Gate, the entrance to Hyde Abbey where King Alfred the Great was buried, new pigeon-proofing will be undertaken after several failed efforts, as reported in the Chronicle.

Other work includes new internal lighting, resurfacing the floor and installing new signs and interpretation boards.  It is set to start in early summer.

Cllr Tippett-Cooper said: "We are hoping to speak to local heritage groups to get a sense of what other information to put in there. There are real experts in the local community to hear what they say."

Permission is being sought from Historic England to put up temporarily a banner that the Friends of Hyde Abbey Gate have sourced from the British Library, depicting the granting of a royal charter to New Minster in Winchester.