Roebuck Barracks, York

Demolition of former world war two Canadian barracks south of York:

Roebuk barracks

A great drone flyover can be found here:

I’m amazed to see this encampment still in existence. Used as a pig farm (or piggery, according to the history books) since the 1960s, the proximity to York and the local ammenities provided by Appleby mean this site ripe for some volume housing.

This remnant of wartime Britain has somehow endured until now. It must have been spotted from the road by a passing developer, and bingo, brownfield.

Roebuck barracks

Being in such a dilapidated state, and as the buildings were pre-fabricated temporary structures to begin with, there is no aesthetic merit in retaining or restoring the barracks, however, the brick towers are extremely interesting structures. Any development should try to integrate these towers, if not only as an homage to the Canadian soldiers who came so far to assist in our victory over fascism.

The layout could even follow the pattern of the paths in the barracks, utilising existing ‘site capital’.

I hope the planners and the developers sit down properly and discuss how the significance of this site will not be lost.

I’d also add that the site is home to some incredible street art, of itself worthy of retention:

Street art at Roebuck






Hare And Hounds pub, Burton Leonard

Beautiful village pub near Harrogate to be lost for 6 houses:

Hare and Hounds BuUrton Leonard

Very beautiful pub in a village that unfortunately cannot sustain two taverns in the antisocial age of netflix. Presumably, the Royal Oak down the road won out in the end.

The difference between a two pub village and a one-pub village is enormous. Drunken walks between pubs are the stuff of legend (see Cock and Bull story); the bittersweet rivalries in all things pub related; the family friendy carvery pub vs the allowed to smoke after midnight pub. Punters need options.

There is a dynamic that is greater than the sum of its parts. Thankfully there will still be a pub in Burton Leonard, but this is a beautiful building (and future opportunity) to lose for a mere 5 houses. Its in a conservation area, and was commercially successful until a few years ago (at which point the rent killed it off). Its a no brainer as to what the planning officer should decide.

Elmroyd, Brighouse

Plans to demolish a former Victorian care home in Brighouse:


This Victorian villa can be seen on maps dating to 1893, and is possibly much older.

More recently having functioned as a care home the facility shut in 2016 following a litany of scandals in the delivery of their care service.

Back in 2017 residents objected to the conversion of the building into ‘bedsit’ flats for fear of an increase in a transient population. Consequently, the owner has looked into other options, with demolition presumably being most convenient politically and financially. I can’t help but feel the people of Brighouse have missed an opportunity to keep this building in perpetuity.

Healdfield Pub, Castleford

Application to knock down this pub in Castleford:

The Healdfield pub

A red brick pub integrated into the rows of terraces that surround. Unremarkable to a passerby, but it is always a sad loss to see an old town pub disappear, particularly in a town such as Castleford which has been turned over by the wrecking ball over the last 50 years. It is tragic to look at maps of Knottingly or Castleford from just 50 years ago, and see the proliferation of pubs, and public spaces that have been lost. This process continues…



Old Coroner’s Court, Sheffield

Demolition notice submitted to Sheffield to demolish the stunning Coroner’s Court in Sheffield:

Old coroners courtNew coroners court sheffied

A complex and unfathomable series of events has resulted in the green light given to knock this beautiful and historic building down to ‘slab level’. The machinations surrounding the redevelopment of the site are detailed in this excellent piece in the Sheffield Star:

Last year pressure from local heritage groups managed to delay the demolition and redevelopment of the site, with Firestone Developments withdrawing their application. Sadly, even the most novice of planning consultants can advise that demolishing a building does not require consent, and this is the strategy to adopt if you encounter pesky militant locals.

A loss or Sheffield, particularly in an area that is attempting to regenerate itself. Heritage is always key to regeneration. To be cynical, the branding of a new urban quarter requires tangible historic context and this is a lesson developers need to learn.

More pubs up for demolition

Two pubs with applications hanging over their heads:

The Omnibus in Middleton, South Leeds:


A grand red robust building. Seen as a lynchpin for the envisioned new community of Belle Isle, as the city expanded during the formative years of town planning principles of the garden city, with notions of spaciousness, public life, and leisure, were still redolent in this public housing project. A new local pub of course, was seen as vital in this milieu.

A sad loss but it looks like the pub will make way for a new care home, which the area desperately needs.

Some such pubs have recently been listed, namely post war modernist examples that quite rightly deserve to be protected. Yet it would be prudent to retain some examples of the first wave urban extension pubs, and the ideals that the Utopian planners attempted to realise. If lost, places such as Belle Isle no longer reflect that vision, and become mere suburbs.


In Barnsley, The former Fitzwilliam inn is threatened with demolition:

Fitzwilliam Inn Barnsley

Although looking tired now, the white and blue painted facade was once striking. The pub survived a similar application in 2014 and hopefully will be saved again. As this side of Barnsley regenerates, it is incumbent on the planners to recognise that a historic pub would provide much needed amenity for Barnsley’s new urbane apartment dwellers.

Think on Barnsley Met Borough Council.


The Shears Pub, Liversedge

Application to demolish historic pub in Kirklees:

Shears Inn 2

The harrying of the Spen Valley continues. This pub is an incredibly important landmark in Yorkshire, serving as a meeting place of the Luddites. The 138 comments from neighbours are testament to the value this pub has in this community. If only councils would listen to their electorate a little more.

Or at least listen to the plea of the bbc:

Built in 1773, the building should qualify for automatic listing status as stipulated by Heritage England. I will be incredibly shocked if the case officer does anything but immediately refuse the application.

I know there is a handy motorway junction nearby, and Ikea is just down the road, but at some point Kirklees needs to put a moratorium on the destruction of social infrastructure in the Spen Valley.