Wednesday, August 21, 2013

News: English Heritage objects to Guest & Chrimes demolition

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English Heritage "strongly objects" to plans to demolish the former Guest & Chrimes foundry close to Rotherham town centre.

Last month, Rotherham United amended a planning application for the full demolition of the remaining foundry buildings, citing a lack of interest in developing the previous scheme of partial demolition and rising costs of remedial work.

The Grade II listed buildings sit between the club's £20m New York Stadium and the council's new offices on Main Street and have been empty since 1999.

English Heritage works to protect and promote England's historic environment and ensure that its past is researched and understood. In response to previous plans, that would have seen the rear of the foundry demolished in a bid to protect the building's historic frontage, they asked that they be withdrawn and a new development be designed that would include the retention of all, or a substantial part of the Guest & Chrimes complex.

Now the club has amended the plans and is hoping to demolish all of the current buildings because of the disappointing results of a marketing exercise and of the rising costs of remedial work to the residual parts of the listed structure following partial demolition. The applicants are hoping to show that there is no "appreciable commercial interest in its retention or that there is no evidence of a viable scheme for its reuse."

In a letter to the planning authority, English Heritage states that it strongly objects to the application for full demolition and recommends that it is refused "because of the substantial harm to the significance of the Grade II listed Guest & Chrimes complex."

It also said that it would raise the issue with the Secretary of State if the planning authority recommends that the plans be granted.

Based on national planning guidelines, English Heritage believes that the plans do not demonstrate any public benefit which outweighs the substantial harm caused by the demolition of the whole complex. The letter states: "English Heritage considers that the proposal to demolish the entire Guest & Chrimes complex constitutes substantial harm: as there are no formal proposals for the redevelopment of the site, no public benefit can be demonstrated to support the total demolition of the complex, and no other supporting justifications apply."

It adds that, after further research, the significance of the complex is greater than previously thought, given the importance of brass manufacturing to Rotherham. Guest & Chrimes established a manufacturing operation near to Rotherham's Market Place in 1843 with the Chrimes brothers, Peter and Edward, setting up a brass foundry where they invented and produced the high-pressure loose valve screw-down tap.

The firm rapidly expanded into sluice valves, fire hydrants and water meters and John Guest joined the firm in 1847. Following a very large order from Spain, the company moved to the present site in 1857.

English Heritage believes that "the historic, communal, commemorative, symbolic and social value of the Guest & Chrimes complex is high. As one of the last surviving building complexes associated with the brass industry in Rotherham, [it] represents the sole physical reminder of the industry, and the products which were developed by the company, and is effectively the reason why the area, and Rotherham United's New York Stadium bear that name."

The letter also shows that English Heritage believes that there is "nothing intrinsic, in the form, fabric or condition of the building which prevents its re-use, in total or in part." The applicants argue that consultants, Gleeds, estimate that it would take an investment of £8.8m just to bring the current property up to a marketable condition and there has been little interest from developers in doing so.

Rothbiz revealed last week that feasibility work was being carried out on a potential 100-bed riverside hotel surrounded by restaurants, bars and shops, to replace the buildings.

Images: Signet Planning / RU Estates Ltd

6 comments:

Anonymous,  August 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM  

The Place is a eye sore.It looks a mess.I used to work there in the 1970s.Did my apprenticeship there.Would not bother me if it were pulled down.silly people who do not live in the town,dont have to look at the place every day.Stick there nose in,and say lets list it as grade two listed building.let it fall into ruin.Cause they are not bothered what Rotherham people have to look at every day,They live out of town.Why not give it to English Heritage and see what they can do with it.Bet they wont take it on.or have refused it already

Anonymous,  August 22, 2013 at 8:27 AM  

Yes I agree, if it is such an important building to English Heritage let them take on the 8 million it needs to get it in a position to attract business interest. If they are not willing to do that leave it to the businesses that are interested in developing Rotherham.

Anonymous,  August 22, 2013 at 10:34 AM  

Typical English Heritage not living in the real world.

Anonymous,  August 22, 2013 at 11:06 AM  

Its a mess and its dangerous bet these clowns at English heritage have never heard of Rotherham . Before somebody walks past it going to the match and gets hit by a stray brick or tile get the eyesore knocked down.

Anonymous,  August 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous,  August 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM  

The people of English heritage don't have to look at this monstrosity everyday like the people of Rotherham do.

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