Friday, July 19, 2013

News: Full demolition of Guest & Chrimes planned


Rotherham United is drawing up a planning application for the full demolition of the former Guest & Chrimes foundry, citing a lack of interest in developing the previous scheme and rising costs of remedial work.

The Grade II listed buildings of the former iron and brass foundry sit on the edge of the town centre, between the club's £20m New York Stadium and the council's new offices on Main Street.

They have remained empty since the foundry closed in 1999 and little interest has been shown in them since 2004 when plans for a Tesco development on the site were refused following an appeal.

RU Estates Ltd, the owners of the buildings and the company set up to develop the stadium, submitted original plans in March 2012 to ask for consent to demolish the three rear buildings previously used for manufacturing (pictured, below), in a bid to protect the building's historic frontage (pictured, above).

English Heritage responded to the application with an objection, stating that there was insufficient justification for the partial demolition application to be approved, and asked for updated historical information and a more comprehensive marketing exercise to potential developers. A detailed historic building assessment was submitted and Rotherham experts, Burgess Commercial has been marketing the 70,073 sq ft buildings for six months.

Roger Wools, heritage consultant for the applicants, has now provided an update on the situation: "A series of meetings with the Local Authority and English Heritage took place during 2012 but the application has not been determined. English Heritage's stance with regard to the partial demolition application was not modified in the light of the further additional information.

"The current application for full demolition has arisen because of the disappointing results of the marketing exercise and of the rising costs of remedial work to the residual parts of the listed structure following partial demolition. The applicant puts forward the case that there is a lack of viability for refurbishment of even a reduced listed building. This context it is argued is also unlikely to change significantly within the foreseeable future.

"RU Estates concludes that there is no realistic proposition that a developer will come forward in the medium term to refurbish and convert even a residual part of the factory complex. The owners therefore are applying for full demolition of the listed structures."

The completion of the stadium and related flood protection works should have enhanced the viability of the listed building either as a complete structure or as a reduced building, but this has not been the case. Consultants, Gleeds, estimate that it would take an investment of £8.8m just to bring the current property up to a marketable condition.

The applicants admit that there is some architectural and historic interest in the buildings so in order to secure planning permission they must show that there is no "appreciable commercial interest in its retention or that there is no evidence of a viable scheme for its reuse."

The expert reports conclude that the frontage buildings are of some architectural interest, although they have been significantly altered, and that the rear manufacturing ranges are of lesser architectural interest which without the frontage buildings, would be considered to be of no architectural interest.

They also conclude that they have some historical interest to the development of Rotherham and that this be further recorded if development is permitted. As part of any replacement development some display material is recommended for the site to enable the public to be aware of this tradition.

The important industrial firm 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.

Burgess Commercial website

Images: Burgess Commercial


Anonymous,  August 9, 2014 at 9:18 PM  

Disgusting. Not happy to demolish Doncaster Gate Hospital we now could see some more of our Heritage go. Why purchase a site with a Grade 11 listed building on it, in the hope that you can demolish it ! There is more to this Town than football......

Anonymous,  October 18, 2014 at 11:07 AM  

out with the in with the new

Anonymous,  November 17, 2014 at 2:48 PM  

Disgusting, Tony Stewart knew Guest and Chrimes was there and that it was listed. Do they really think looking for loop holes in the planning laws and having no vision for a historic building, is an excuse to demolish our heritage!

Anonymous,  May 16, 2015 at 5:06 PM  

its a sad state when people are quick to get rid ov the very places that gave the people of rotherham a reason to be proud,if 20 million can be spent on a venue to watch a team of people that rotherham folk are proud of then why cant 8.8 million be spent so the people of rotherham can visit there heritage?it makes more sense to me to make that rotherhams museaum.

Karen,  November 15, 2016 at 1:31 AM  

It's Rotherham Council all money in their pockets sod what the people of Rotherham think.

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