Retrospective permission to flatten Wibsey Park Lodge in Bradford:
Disgraceful practice by Mr N Rahim. Nobody in the development industry is unaware that demolition requires planning permission. Yet he went ahead and cleared this beautiful and historic park lodge. Mr Rahim weighed up his choices, and knowing the council will only give him a cursory slap on the wrist, he can now go on and make his money from 4 detached houses without the need for an expensive and protracted development control process.
A delightful building with a tall red brick chimney contrasting with the slate and stone of the house. Victorian Parks need their lodges to make sense of their history. If only the council would enforce their legislation and make him rebuild it brick by brick. Set and example. At the very least, I dare Bradford Council to refuse permission for the development of the site.
As it turns out however, the building was sold to Mr Rahim by Bradford Council in the first instance. Interesting. I hope everyone is reading between those very obvious lines and arriving at the same conclusions I have.
Plans to demolish Bingley Science and Technical School:
Bradford Council have been forced to sell this handsome building following an extensive marketing campaign which have proved unsuccessful in finding a new tenant. Interestingly a covenant attached to the building states it must only be used for local educational purposes. A very noble Victorian ambition indeed, however this clause could be the death knell of the school, as this imposed flexibility precludes a potential conversion to housing.
The Victorians and their institutions, slowly dismantled as civic society is subjected to the bottom line.
Couldn’t the free school movement have snapped this up from the council? I’m sure a peppercorn price could have been negotiated with a community group intent on setting up a free school for the sake of saving the building. This is near Ilkley after all.
A number of buildings to be replaced by a single development:
I wasn’t sure whether to create this post, as the proposed development is actually very good, demonstrating an active frontage and strong elevations. However, my issue is with the massing of the development; it has completely ignored the urban grain of the buildings it looks to replace.
The site is currently occupied by 9 different buildings providing variety and rhythm along the street front. This configuration will have evolved from the medieval period to arrive at this complexity of built form.
Due to land assembly, the milieu of buildings will be replaced with one monolithic building, demonstrating no variation of detailing along the street front. This is seen throughout provincial cities. Land assembly is damaging to the preservation of urban grain. Scale is everything, and plot shapes and sizes should be in of themselves seen as heritage assets.
Old School Buildings to be demolished in Batley:
The school building annexes to a grade II listed church and a second convent building is also part of the application and appears to be an attractive well ordered house.
An indicative scheme for residential conversion was prepared when marketing the property, so retaining and reusing the buildings is viable, and would offer a much better setting for the listed asset.
The embedded carbon in the buildings must be very high, and it would be a shame to see it all gone to waste as the site is cleared. Sadly this is still not a consideration in planning decisions.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is the mantra attached to the use of plastics. Why not for buildings too?
Pub; usual story:
A fundamental port on the Westgate Wobble pub crawl, the Old Pack Horse has been closed for a few years now, and although a robust and attractive building, the developer sees no value in this and wants to get 5 houses on here.
Sadly much of the building is only 1 story, however, the 2 story portion of the building could certainly be integrated into a development.
And just like that, you’ve managed to capture a piece of history in perpetuity.
Interestingly, the New Pack Horse pub is just over the road. There is definitely something very Yorkshire about this perfunctory pub naming. Without both pubs present, the irony is lost. And irony theft is criminal around these parts.
Application to demolish The Queens Pub in Leeds:
I can’t think of another area of a city more comprehensively cleared and redeveloped in the post-war golden age of planning than Hunslet in Leeds. There is absolutely nothing left of the town that the Victorians built here. Aside from this pub.
I have no idea how it has survived up until now, but it has. This will be the final nail in the coffin for Hunslet’s sense of place. All for a van rental shop.
Of all the West Yorkshire local authorities Leeds has the best record of dissuading pub owners from selling out to developers. Lets hope conservation of this fragment of history is fought for by council officers. There must be some small print in the Aire Valley Area Action Plan that precludes this action, surely?
The last aspect of the Alexandra Works campus in Keighley:
The last remaining building of the former Alexandra Works complex in Keighley will soon be demolished following the clearance of the rest of the site a few years ago.
You can view the original mill buildings in the area by browsing Google maps street view and setting the view to the archived images. A lot of quirky Victorian architecture has been lost here. It is lamentable, but sadly in the fringes of a town such as Keighley the property market is limited and uses for sites such as this come solely in the tin shed industrial space format.
Perhaps if Keighley had capitalised on its Victorian culture in the way Saltaire, Hebden Bridge, or Skipton have, the demand for residential or start-up space in former industrial buildings would exist. Keighley should try to attempt to emulate the relationship Ilkley has with Bradford, and reposition itself as a small town that offers escape from the bigger city, yet with more amenity than the villages.
Planners must realise it is their responsibility to create housing markets in this way and foster regeneration through reviving history and culture.
There has been some press recently about the loss of mills in Northern England, and it has highlighted that there has been nothing short of a cull. We need to recognise that these buildings are temples from an erstwhile era, and that somehow Brtain of modernity emerged from this mythical antiquity that now seems distant and unrecognisable. Every culture needs its mythos.