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Victorian Terrace, Birstall

Adandonned Victorian terrace in Birstall:

www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/planning-applications/search-for-planning-applications/detail.aspx?id=2022/92081

A very modest terrace of four dwellings, two stories to the front, three to the rear. Classic Victorian housing stock that could have lasted forever if looked after.

The image above doesn’t show any building of architectural merit, but it is the short stone terraced rows like this that make west yorkshire special. They will be replaced with an undisclosed supermarket. Aldi or Lidl I expect.

Minus 4 units for Kirklees’ housing target then.

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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.

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

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

Willerby Manor Hotel, Hull

A converted 19th-century mansion house, now a Best Western hotel, is to be flattened for 50 homes:

Entire Contents of Willerby Manor Hotel and Health Club - Eddisons

This proposal comes much to the chagrin of local residents who have overwhelmingly objected to the idea. The original mansion is still visible behind the later additions, and a detailed history of the property is available here courtesy of research by Margaret McGlashan.

The hotel closed during the Covid-19 pandemic and did not reopen. I suppose the owners realised housing was the way to go. So this Victorian Manor, possibly the historic seat of Willerby, will be lost because of the lockdown. That’s important. We will slowly see this happen more as large property owners apply the guillotine to the risky elements of their portfolios. This is what happens when ownership is not local.

The historic map above shows the original manor house in isolation before it was consumed by the hotel complex. The distance between the village and the house on the maps provides so much narrative of the social history of East Yorkshire. When it’s not there anymore, neither is Willerby’s story.

Houses in the open countryside

I have come across various rural houses/ex farms that have gone into the planing system for demolition this month. Some of these buildings appear to be truly ancient.

The pair of cottages in Raskelf (one of my fabourite place names) above are set to be replaced with a pair of equally sized and sited deatched houses. A pointless carbon intensive excercise. Why would any Council in the land be ok with that? This farm is being sold off piecemeal via various lots at auction. This could be a new village. Historically, thats how settlements all started.

The converted barn above near Kirby Malzead is due to be replaced with a chimneyless bungalow. Buildings in the open countryside are a componant of the landscape and in this particular case, visible from huge distances. Very sad that no objection from the Parish or any local group has been made.

This beautiful farm house just outside Slathwaite will be demolished and replaced with a new build, which it has to be said is a very sensitive design. Lets hope the planners condition the reuse of materials.

South Bank buildings, Leeds

Application to demolish some of the last buildings on Crown Point Road, Leeds:

It looks like the decade of scaffolding erected to preserve this building until some heritage funding could be found, was in vain after all. About 4 buildings can be found along Crown Street, that are currently constitute the cultural lynchpin of the recently branded ‘South Bank’. The scarcity of the heritage here means those bricks are worth their weight in gold. The map above shows how dense the urban tissue of the area used to be – now generally in use as a series of surface car parks.

Crown Point Road, Derelict houses
Image from Leodis

Those that don’t know Leeds’ Southbank will wonder what merit there would be in hanging on to these dilapidated buildings. When you consider the entirety of Victorian Leeds south of the River Aire has all but been lost, every last vestige of the industrial past needs to be retained to anchor the space within some historical context. The developer, Vastint (which is actually Ikea) should be aware of the irreplaceable value this adds to development. If the regeneration of the south bank takes place upon a tabula rasa, then it isn’t really regeneration. Its a boring new town.

The building is modest, however it does demonstrate some interesting features, with a hinged front elevation, and stone detailing that makes for an attractive urban building. I don’t know much about the building, and would be curious to know if any readers out there know its previous use, or of previous plans to regenerate it.

Cottage in Central Ripon

Small cottage cum workshop to be replaced with three townhouses:

To be lost is a sweet old building occupying the rear of a burgage plot in the middle of Ripon.

Most would agree that it isn’t really worth a mention, it being a rugged simple brick and beam build. But look closer, and you can spot the nuance that won’t be present it its successor; the roof pitch doesn’t match the adjacent building; the brick is the same as that of the boundary wall; the entrance seems to be neither of the ground floor or first floor.

But from the Architects drafting I’m confident it will be tastefully replaced. Indeed, three new residential addresses down this side street could really breath life into this corner of the city. Still, it will be a long time before we have a new old building here to catch our curious eyes.

Hollycroft, Ilkley

Edwardian villa threatened with demolition in Ilkley:

Holly Croft, Residential Care Home now Closed

A beautiful suburban Edwardian house that has been used until recently as a care home is threatened with demolition following acquisition by Barchester Healthcare Ltd. Although not listed, the building is within a conservation area, an as such this should be grounds for refusal on the harm that would result from its loss. Indeed even the heritage statement acknowledged that ‘ipso facto’ the building is a designated heritage asset.

Pre-application advice from the case officer at Bradford Council stated that the principle of the development is acceptable, effectively giving the go-ahead to the developer before the application has entered the public domain and the democratic due process.

Nonetheless it is reassuring to see the barrage of public comments objecting to this proposal, including objections from Ilkley Town Council who rightly point out that allowing demolition on the grounds that a building is in disrepair effectively rewards owners for neglecting heritage.

After so much opposition, it would be a shock to see this one get permission.

End terrace cottage, Meltham

Notice of demolition of a small end terrace dwellingin Meltham, Huddersfield:

https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/planning-applications/search-for-planning-applications/detail.aspx?id=2020/94336

Not sure why the owner is wanting to destroy this building in a conservation area. The planning statement suggests they will use the space as a garden, but I’m not convinced. The applicant also acknowledges that the removal of the building will leave an unweathered gable end that will require work. This alone would be enough to despoil the conservation area, which is otherwise a pristine townscape of Victorian stone built stock – I’m surprised this street isn’t used for filming.

The neighbouring terrace is grade 2 listed. Hopefully the planning officer has the fore site to see the harm this would do to the setting of this protected building.