Thursday, November 28, 2019

News: Bid to "de-list" Guest & Chrimes

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Historic England has confirmed that an application has been received to remove Rotherham's Guest & Chrimes building from the listed buildings register.

The Grade II listed property on the edge of Rotherham town centre suffered a fire in July last year. Following structural surveys, the historic frontage facing the River Don has been completely demolished.

Progress on regeneration has been slow with Rotherham United working with Historic England and Rotherham Council on proposals. It was previously estimated that investment of £8.8m would be needed just to bring the property up to a marketable condition and there has been little interest from developers in doing so.

Not being a listed building would remove a number of restrictions to redevelopment.

Empty since 1999, the site was purchased by Rotherham Council for £2.6m from developers, Evans in 2010 and is now controlled by the football club which has a very long lease from the Council. English Heritage (now Historic England) "strongly objected" to 2012 plans to demolish the former factory.

In correspondence with Rotherham Civic Society, seen by Rothbiz, Historic England gave an update on the building and the "frank and pragmatic discussions" held with the owners.

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It reads: "We have invested a considerable amount of time and effort into working with the owners of Guest and Chrimes to try and find a solution for the building over the last 5-6 years.

"It may be necessary to lose some elements of the building in order to retain the most significant parts. This was difficult for us as clearly we are usually trying to retain as much of the historic building as possible, however we were conscious that the economic context for Guest and Chrimes is different to buildings in say Leeds, or even Sheffield.

"Our focus was on retaining the front elevation on to Don Street along with the northern-most wing and water tower, with elements of new-build and interpretation of the history of the building. Whilst we appreciate the front-range is the more architecturally elaborate, we still feel that the rear ranges are very important in understanding how the building functioned historically. They are recognisable metal trades buildings and therefore distinctive to Rotherham and South Yorkshire."

With the front range now gone, Historic England confirmed that its Listing Team had received an application to assess Guest and Chrimes for delisting and is undertaking a full assessment.

A listing can only be removed from the list if it is deemed to no longer hold special architectural or historic interest. An application for de-listing may be made because new evidence is available about the lack of special architectural or historic interest of the building, or a material change of circumstances, for example fire damage.

The significance of the complex was deemed 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.

The town centre masterplan outlined an aim for the site to create a focus for recreation and sporting activity in the town. The club has been in ongoing talks with investors regarding a trampoline centre, and have put forward a number of propositions.

The correspondence adds that Historic England "would wish to work with the owners to try and agree a design for any new build on the site so that it reflects the previous buildings. This is something we were involved in prior to the fire and we would hope to continue."

Historic England website

Images: Tom Austen / RMBC / WYG

4 comments:

royherbert November 28, 2019 at 1:48 PM  

Sadly the frontage has gone, but it was economically unviable to keep the building, the plans drawn up keep most of the heritage of the site but it is an eyesore and needs developing asap!

Mr me November 28, 2019 at 4:08 PM  

Agree, get it pulled down!

Anonymous,  November 28, 2019 at 4:35 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown November 29, 2019 at 1:40 PM  

Hopefully the area can be used to bring some entertainment facilities to the people of the town

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