SHROUDED with scaffolding for eight years, the Lansdowne Monument high above Calne has been in a near constant state of disrepair.

Now locals who have had enough of the monument being an eyesore have launched a petition for it to be restored.

The Lansdowne Monument was built in 1845, to commemorate Sir William Petty, the first Marquis of Lansdowne, and has been owned by the National Trust since 1988.

The trust spent £220,000 repairing the monument then, but even after that scaffolding and safety netting had to be placed around the base of the column to protect visitors from falling masonry.

Now Debra Bassett, David Dillamore and Calne Mayor Tony Trotman hope the scaffolding can be removed and the monument can stand tall in time for its 175th birthday in 2020.

Mrs Bassett, who is leading the campaign, said: “Unless we start making a fuss, our monument will not be restored.

"For the last eight years, the monument has been hidden under unsightly scaffolding. Eight years is too long and we have no intention of waiting another eight years for them to take action.

“We want the trust to see how strongly we feel about this project. We have been trying to engage with the National Trust for over two years, with a view to assisting them with this project but they’ve refused to allow us to carry out fundraising activities. We have several ideas on how to raise funds and have expressed this to the Trust, but they are still ignoring any communication with us.

"We are still hopeful that the National Trust will come to us as we just want to help them.

"The monument is important to the local area, it can be seen for miles and it is an iconic feature of our landscape.”

To sign the petition, please visit or visit Calne, Chippenham, Devizes or Marlborough Town Heritage Centres.

The National Trust recently carried out a survey to determine the extent of the work, but have yet to complete their report.

Jan Tomlin, the National Trust General Manager for Wiltshire Landscape, said: "A structural survey has just been completed and we are waiting to see the results. We will take time to study and consider the survey and we may need to commission further more detailed surveys. After that we would be able to formulate options for repair, coming up with designs and determine how much the options might cost. Only then would we be in a position to start fund raising to pay for the work.

"All of this will take some time but we have started the process towards finding a solution to tackle the damage to the monument.

"To look after the places the trust cares for, we are dependent on the support of our members, visitors, supporters and neighbours. When we start a fund raising campaign, we would hope that those who find the monument special will wish to help. But for the moment, when we don’t yet know the exact extent of the work needed or costs, it would be inappropriate to ask people to give money. What we would like people to do, is to be patient and, keep in touch with us so they can be ready if they wish to help in the future.

"If anybody has a concern and would like to hear more, they are welcome to contact our Wiltshire Landscape office in Avebury."