PLANS to spend £150,000 rebuilding Grade II listed walls has been criticised by a former leader of Dudley Council who has said conservationists are ‘too precious’.  

David Sparks, who led the authority from 2012 to 2014, said plans to rebuild the boundary which encloses the garden of Stevens Park, Wollescote, with hand made bricks is too costly.

His comments came as members of the Ernest Stevens Trust Management Committee were told the rebuilding of the walls would cost £150,000 to comply with conservation regulations.

Sections of the walls collapsed in 2015 and again in January this year.  

A plan to lower their height by half a metre to reduce costs was rejected by conservation officers and Historic England.

Mr Sparks told the committee: “If you look at historical monuments in this country, for example the wall that surrounds Chester, you will not find that they are all made from uniform brick.

“You will find that it is made from Roman stone and others that have been added in different years.

“My conclusion from this is that these people are being far too precious, they are not thinking about living history and they are saddling us with a bill we shouldn’t have to pay.”

He added: “If previous generations had took this attitude we literally won’t have a living history. We’d be living in a mausoleum.”

The cost of a normal house brick is around 50 pence but the boundary requires special hand made materials to blend in with other existing walls in the park.

They surrounded the garden of Wollescote Hall, which dates from the 16th century and was bequeathed to the people of the local area by the Ernest Stevens family in 1930.

Councillors were also told lime mortar will be used in the construction and therefore building could only happen when the air temperature is above five degrees centigrade.

The earliest the work can now start is spring 2019.