Red House Pub, Bradford

Another pub to be removed from Bradford:

Not the prettiest of drinkeries, but it’s what’s inside that counts. And under that pebbledash exterior is a beautiful masonry end-terrace. Bradford loses a pub a month, and in my opinion each one worth lamenting. A tiny bit more of the Victorian city lost forever.

Some of the original stonework remains exposed at the base of the building

Butlers Farm, Finningley

Farm buildings and paddock to be lost for the development of 5 dwellings near Doncaster:

A charming farming house and single-story courtyard stable block are to be demolished and replaced with a small cul-de-sac. The farmhouse has been left empty for some years and is supposedly beyond repair (as the comments of the Civic Society would suggest). I’m not convinced. I would rather see the farmhouse divided into two dwellings, the stables converted into two-story mews dwellings, and a further dwelling adjacent ot the road. That would be how a farm would naturally densify, and would offer the same 5 new dwellings in an organic way.

Finningley is/was a quintessential village, with a green, pubs, and a few clusters of farm buildings. Its a shame to lose some of this original fabric. Maybe we need to start letting those with some extra land develop it themselves, slowly, dwelling by dwelling, rather than leaning on the usual housebuilders to acquire farmland and develop it in this generic way.

Railway Inn, Irlam, Salford

Beautiful pub to be demolished for 10 flats:

A quiet month in Yorkshire on the demolition front has allowed me to explore the other side of the Pennines this month, beginning in Salford; a Local Authority that seems to have a penchant for erasing its history, whilst being beguiled by a vague notion of regeneration.

This lovely High Street pub has been closed since 2016, and was due to be converted into a daycare center, preserving the building.

Sold via auction for £200k in 2019, the new owner sought a higher return and put in an application for a three-story building, which was rightly refused.

The new application shows a similar-sized building albeit with a pitched roof, but equally dominant in the otherwise domestic scale street.

The building has been described as derelict and vandalised, which is seemingly how all buildings are described after being momentarily vacant in developer rhetoric.

The pub offers an important contribution to this street, which is one of the few remaining high streets of the towns in Greater Manchester that remains entirely Victorian/Edwardian.

As the building has recently been shown to be viable for business use, Salford should recognise the value in its retention. This is a high street, and a commercial use should be favoured over residential flats.

Victorian Coach House, Sheffield

Demolition of a Victorian coach house in East Sheffield:

Now I accept this isn’t a big deal. It’s a modest garage for a wealthy Victorian family, from a period when this part of the city was the reserve of the monied mercantile class of the city.

But I’ve walked down this street, and somehow this building really does anchor its character. One end of the street is a multistory carpark vision of post-modern Sheffield. But this end is stone and slate.

Hopefully, something of high quality will replace it, rather than four parking spaces for the adjacent doctors’ surgery.

Map circa 1900

Silver Fox pub, Stocksbridge

Pub in South Yorkshire to be demolished for 12 houses:

This pub has been up for sale for £225,000, which is a steal considering its also a very large handsome house. Even if you lived upstairs and had your own personal pub downstairs, you’d still be getting a home far bigger than anything else for that money nearby. Maybe the marketing didn’t quite reach a big enough audience.

I can see that delivering 12 houses will appeal to some, but as ever I contend that houses can be delivered on this site whilst retaining the building. Its only been closed since 2019, which is not enough time to demonstrate a cultural shift in Stocksbridge away from pub-going. The people around here clearly still need a boozer! I count 2 remaining pubs in Stocksbridge. This is a town of 10,000 people.

It’s not the most quaint pub, set in an overly large concrete car park (could have been your front garden…) in a housing estate. The historic maps show the pub to be on the site on an earlier property called Half Hall, however, the current building dates from 1963 – relatively modern in spite of its appearance alluding to early 19th-century pub architecture.

Horse and Groom pub, Goldthorpe

Application by Barnsley Council to knock down a pub they have bought: https://wwwapplications.barnsley.gov.uk/PlanningExplorerMVC/Home/ApplicationDetails?planningApplicationNumber=2021%2F0959#summary

If its not the brewery cashing in, or a volume housebuilder picking up recently closed pubs, then it turns out your Local Authority will knock your pub down for you. Barnsley Council purchased this pub with part of the £23.1m Towns Fund stipend it received from Central Government. An odd use of money considering there are derelict brownfield sites throughout the district that could be acquired via CPO much more economically. It is public money after all.

Goldthorpe has seen its centre carved out over the last few years, in spite of regeneration money pouring in and replacing the serviceable pavements with what appear to be stone bar codes. Demolishing the local is apparently the next step in this regeneration.

Although still trading in 2019, the pub has already gone such is the swiftness of an application to The Council by The Council. I really hate seeing pubs disappear at this rate.

Former Blakeys Ironworks, Armley

Dilapidated north-light mill complex in Leeds to be cleared:

These are the demolitions that hurt the most, because as soon as I see the notice go into the planning portal, I know there is no hope. A messy, composite industrial building, in an area of low value, outside of any regeneration framework. The odds are firmly against buildings like these.

The frontage above which seamlessly transitions from domestic architecture to the end of the northlight factory floor is the stuff of dreams for the purveyors of industrial-chic, such as Urban Splash. If I was the planner I’d make sure this fade was retained and some high quality public realm secured to the front of this elevation to complement it.

Most people think these forges and factories are dirty old Leeds, that need to be expunged. I see a robustly designed building that maximises the industrial output of such a small plot, and creates a frontage to the road that is geometrically absurd, and unique. The shapes and textures you see above will never be replicated in industrial architecture again.

For years this factory operated as Blakeys Iron Works, producing boot potectors, of all things. Amazingly these ‘segs’ (as they are known) continue to me manufactured in Walsall. I’m sure Armley is still full of the workers who would have passed through these gates each day. Go have a wander down there before February 9th, before its gone.

Georgian farm to be pulled down for housing in Brighouse

Back Brade Farm, passed a bat inspection, and is about to be torn down – https://portal.calderdale.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=R5WJW3DW0CF00&activeTab=summary

Hopefully the two aerial images above show what has happened in this green belt area between Brighouse and Elland in the highly sought after M62 lands of West Yorkshire.

A farmhouse remains as an island in the midst of ground preparation for the arrival of 267 houses. The open countryside that has been sacrificed (along with a number of farm buildings already) can be seen to the aerial image on the right.

Plans for this volume housing estate excluded the farmhouse, and it looked as though the developer could see value in retaining Back Brade Farm from which I imagine the avenues, closes, drives, crescents, that emerge will all derive their quaint names. Alas no, they were just waiting for the bats to bugger off before tearing it down via permitted development. I’m sure they can squeeze in a couple more ‘products’ there you see.

Everything that is wrong with modern planning and housing delivery can be witnessed here. Indeed, there is no planning at all. This is delivery in full of exactly what the market would provide regardless. Cheap crass housing types perfect for brochures, each one a palatial statement of your individuality, each house isolated with no regard for context or history. The local planning authority may as well not exist.

Yes I understand we need housing, and that some of our green pastures must be sacrificed, but there are better ways. You can start by retaining some of what was previously there – the boundaries, the paths, the farm buildings, the topography, even perhaps some of the trees. Write a new chapter, not a new book.

The farm is seen just above the Back Braid label (now spelled ‘Brade’) in this map circa 1900

Buildings on Starbeck High Street

An application for prior approval of the demolition of a series of High Street buildings in the town of Starbeck near Harrogate:

Built as Harper’s Grocery (a name still embossed in the stone), this building has stood derelict since a fire in 2018, which destroyed the roof and left the structure beyond repair, at least in the words of the developer.

The Conservation Officer in this instance has his hands tied by the fact that the building sits just outside the conservation area, albeit next door to a listed church. He has urged the reuse of the historic facade, but the plans show the building being replaced:

The building appears to be of a high quality, taking cues from the current structure. A good planner would manage to get the impressive facade retained, with any new development built of matching stone. The pre-application dialogue, not being a matter of public record, probably has established the outcome of this site already.

The redevelopment is supported with suspicious alacrity by the Ward Councillor. Fires, irreparable roofs, and zealous politicians always ring alarms bells with me. I’ll say no more…

Loftus Methodist Church

UPDATE, THIS APPLICATION HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN HOWEVER A RESUBMISSION MAY STILL BE MADE


Application to clear the site of Arlington Road primitive methodist chapel in Redcar and Cleveland:

https://planning.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/Planning/Display?applicationNumber=R%2F2021%2F0939%2FF3

A classic Wesleyan Church in ceremonial North Yorkshire is to be dropped to make way for housing, following an application made by the Council, to the Council.

Loftus is an (almost) coastal market town in Cleveland, and is a hidden gem of heritage.

This building represents the end of the high street and offers a landmark building to round-off the coherent street frontage of the town. Its loss will have a major impact on the townscape.

The church is in the conservation area and contributes immensely to it. The heritage statement argues that because the church is not mentioned directy, it is ‘of little heritage significance’. However the very purpose of a conservation area is a blanket protection, without the need to reference individual buildings, which are usually too numerous to detail but contribute to a heritage townscape.

The usual rhetoric of the building becoming an ‘eyesore’ and a ‘public health and safety concern’ is also present. The statement even argues that the flattened empty plot and close board hoardings would ensure ‘the appearance of the conservation area would be enhanced’

The church (highlighted in red) forms an important part of the historic high street of Loftus (map circa 1900)

This is a good example of the democratic planning process being flouted. How can the Council determine an application submitted by The Council dispassionately? Is there any value in objecting when this is clearly a decision that was made behind closed doors a long time ago?