BOSSES at The National Trust say they can’t afford to repair Wellington’s historic monument on their own.

A project team has been working to fix the town’s landmark, which was closed in 2005, but say it will take a “joint effort” to re-open it.

Andy Mayled, general manager for the National Trust in Somerset, said: “We know this will be a long project with no quick fixes.

“The work needs to be done properly and it will involve raising a lot of money but it is not clear yet what the final costs might be.

“We can say that the National Trust doesn’t have the money to carry out such an extensive restoration project.

“It will take a joint effort from everybody with an interest to help us secure the future of the Wellington Monument.”

The monument was closed because of deterioration to its structure and project managers are trying to find ways to overcome the challenges.

A number of surveys have been done in the past but there are still some unanswered questions bosses need to deal with before they can agree on a final repair solution.

Mr Mayled added: “One obvious thing which was missed in previous surveys was a photogrammetric survey of all three faces which will now be carried out to allow us to record where there are cracks and which stones are loose and, therefore, accurately monitor any new cracks.

“As part of cleaning up the site, there will also be a monthly monitoring of new stone loss from the monument which will help to show the size of the problem.”

Standing at 175ft tall, the Egyptian-inspired obelisk is the tallest of its kind in the UK, the second tallest in Europe and the fifth in the world.

It was created in honour of the Duke of Wellington to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Waterloo.

The monument will be open this Sunday (September 15) to allow people to see the scale of the repair work.

The project team will be on site from 11am to 3pm to answer questions and listen to the views of visitors, and the monument will be open for people to go inside the column.

Mr Mayled said: “We want local people in Wellington and the surrounding villages to get more involved with the work and letting people see inside the monument for a day is part of that.

“There are a lot of challenges with the monument and by having this open day we can hopefully explain some of those better – especially the scale of the task to repair the monument which is quite a complex structure.

“We are also keen to hear what the monument means to local people and their memories of visiting the site.”