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Flagship office building slammed

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PLANS for a new flagship headquarters building for Warrington’s Golden Gates Housing Trust have been criticised by English Heritage.
The scheme involves a new, part two, part three, storey office building on the site of the Bank Park Depot, off Kendrick Street, within the Town Hall Conservation Area.
It would mean demolition of existing buildings on the site, including the locally listed but derelict Crosfields Conservatory
But English Heritage – who claim they were not consulted prior to the planning application being submitted – are critical of the proposal because of the historical context of the site and also the design of the building.
They recommend the application be withdrawn “until such time as a scheme is produced which more clearly enhances the conservation area and the setting of the Town Hall.”
However, planning officers are recommending the plans be approved when they come before the borough council’s development management committee on Thursday.
Nearby residents have objected on the grounds that the land was originally gifted to the town as a park – including the depot area.
Local councillor Steve Parish questions why the site has not been considered part of the Town Hall curtilate, which would have meant it was part of a Listed Building.
He notes that the designers of the new building claim to have taken into account other nearby buildings, including the Town Hall, in their design.
Cllr Parish says: “I am not sure how well they have succeeded, but it remains a fairly unremarkable modern office building.”
Pictured: The Bank Park depot, showing the overgrown and derelict conservatory.

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8 Comments

  1. Why are Golden Gates Housing, an commercial organisation with only a passing connection to WBC, being given yet more council owned land to build their headquarters on? There is plenty of office space available elsewhere in the borough which this commercial organisation could buy or rent at a commercial price – and pay a commercial level of business rates on.

    I thought GGH were supposed to be an “arms length” organisation, managing the billions of pounds worth of OUR assets they were gifted in a business-like manner? This sort of blatant cronyism demonsatrates that this is not the case and that the political old pals network is still operating at full efficiency across the local government departments and quangos of Warrington.

  2. Although I think that any development would be an improvement on the current eyesore, I agree with Inky Pete that what is supposed to be an “arms length” business seems to get an awful lot of help from the council taxes paid by Warrington residents. Council please not; this is not YOUR money to dispense, it belongs to all the tax-payers of the borough.

  3. I’ve got to agree with you there..I live in Birchwood..SURROUNDED by offices that have been empty for well over 2 years..and they insist on building even more!! Utilise what we have people, it is not rocket science!!

  4. What the hell is going on ? There are lots of empty buildings waiting to be occupied and plus let’s start looking after the tennents please

  5. It isn’t just any old headquarters it is a flagship. This means the best of a number of things, so if this is the only one how can it be a flagship. I bet somebody high up in the organisation has earned his corn by coming up with the hyperbole.

  6. Our Councillors should say 'No' to this ridiculous suggestion. At a time of austerity where is the money coming from. How much are they going to pay for any piece of WBC land? Land that WE own! In the NE of Warrington there are countless numbers of empty properties that could be used for this purpose if a new building is necessary. What is wrong with the accommodation currently being used? Can this not be brought up to spec at a very much lower cost to CT Payers? This needs a new in depth look to decide what is the most cost effective solution and the best way forward for WBC and its residents. We can live in hope!

  7. It’s a housing association for pity’s sake – it doesn’t need a flagship buiding, no matter what the egoes of their management may think.

  8. Golden Gates Housing’s priority should be to ensure that all their housing stock meets the decent homes standard and that additional accommodation is acquired to house the homeless rather than building prestigious accommodation for their management. WBC’s priority should be to protect the interests of the public they are elected to serve. This proposal illustrates just how much they are still out of touch with public opinion. Yet another failure of the planning dept who should have ensured that English Heritage had been consulted. The people of Warrington are proud and protective of their parks and public spaces – a backlash similar to the Walton Hall & Gardens proposed sell off might be on the cards?

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