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Housing HQ gets the go-ahead

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new flagship headquarters building for Warrington’s Golden Gates Housing Trust have been given the green light by Town Hall planners
Members of the borough council’s development management committee visited the site before giving the go-ahead.
They decided objections from English Heritage, nearby residents and from local councillor Steve Parish were not sufficient to block the proposals.
The development, on the overgrown site of the Bank Park Depot, off Kendrick Street, will mean the demolition of existing buildings, including the locally listed but derelict Crosfields Conservatory.
The most severe criticism of the scheme had come from English Heritage, who were critical of the design of the part two, part three, storey building proposed.
They suggested the application should be withdrawn “until such time as a scheme is produced which more clearly enhances the conservation area and the setting of the Town Hall.”
But planning officers argued that development on the site would bring a derelict corner of Bank Park to life.
They point out that the conservatory building is derelict, with no glass remaining in it.
Nearby residents objected on the grounds that the land was originally gifted to the town as a park – including the depot area.
But officers pointed out that the building would occupy a site which is already not open to the public.
The park itself would remain in its entirety for the benefit of the public.
Cllr Parish also had reservations about the design of the building which, he described as “a fairly unremarkable modern office building.”
The planning approval is subject to the housing trust contributing £50,000 towards the cost of sustainable transport improvements in the vicinity of the site.
Pictured: The derelict Crosfield Conservatory at the overgrown Bank Park Depot


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Experienced journalist for more than 40 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with three in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Director Warrington Chamber of Commerce Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

13 Comments

  1. Yet again, another example of how out of touch our Councillors are. They even didn’t listen to the local representative, Councillor Parish. How must he feel in his attempts to represent his residents? Since this is a Conservation Area I do hope that we don’t end up with “Square Box” as office accommodation. We can live in hope. Does anyone know why these greenhouses have been left you go to rack and ruin as other nearby Towns seem to be able to get funds to renovate theirs and keep some heritage.

  2. So that means if the council fence off any public area & allow it to go to rack & ruin, they can then give planning permission for anything to be built on the site on the grounds it is an improvement, despite the objections of most interested parties ?

    Does this set a precedent for Walton Hall ? Unbelievable- glad we live in a democracy !

  3. There is another recent precedent where an area in Lymm was designated as an attractive open space so unfit for development. The developers then erected a large fence around it and planning officers decided that this meant it was no longer an attractive space so they could build on it.

    You seriously couldn’t make it up and anybody who thinks that their votes count for anything when it comes to planning are deluded. That part of the council appears to be the personal fiefdom of certain planning officers.

  4. I think the Walton Hall fiasco set a precedent in the force of public objection to the proposals. This will cause similar public outrage. Nobody has been fooled into believing Walton Hall is safe yet and this threat to the Town Hall grounds will just add fuel to the fire. I think there will be a severe backlash.

  5. “other nearby Towns seem to be able to get funds to renovate theirs and keep some heritage.” Yes but that takes a little effort!

    (Reply to this comment)

  6. In the interests of ‘ honesty, open-ness,n and transparency’ can you publish the names of the councillors who have voted for or against this development? Can you also publish the names of those councillors (if any) who are calling this decision into scrutiny? These proposals have been well reported for some time so ‘on holiday’ will be irrelevant re councillor’s lack of action.

  7. I suppose the underlying question is why erect another faceless block of offices when there are so many empty commercial premises in Warrington anyway? Anybody who knows more care to speculate as to why they are messing about with all of this when they could stroll into an empty office tomorrow?

  8. I believe the two two councillors to vote against this were councillor tony Higgins and councillor jan Davidson ,these two should get a gold medal !

  9. The locally listed conservatory should NOT have been allowed to get into this state. If it had been looked after then maybe it would not have had to be closed to public access too. Makes my blood boil that council owned glasshouses/greenhouses(call them what you like) and other locally listed buildings have all just been left to rot and no attempt has ever been made to safeguard or enhance them. Grappenhall Hayes Walled Gardens have just managed to secure £961,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding off their own backs to regenerate their large run of derelict Foster and Pearson glasshouses to bring them back to their former glory but the council can’t or won’t bother trying with the ones in their control like Bank Park and Walton Gardens. Says it all really…. THEY can’t be bothered if there is any money in it for them from new developer’s pockets. As for the box that is going to be built there then maybe the council SHOULD have listened to English Heritage and at least insisted that a more fitting design for a conservation area was resubmitted. By approving this modern ‘blob’ they have basically just opened the floodgates to more ‘blobs’ in the Warrington Conservation areas which in a few years to come will look an even bigger eyesore than when it was forst built. YEUCH !!! Have architects got no taste ,style, ambition or will to be remembered for their designs anymore !!!

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