Warrington-Worldwide.co.uk incorporates the Village Life, Culcheth Life, Frodsham Life & Lymm Life magazines.

Civic Society would have opposed water tower demolition


WARRINGTON Civic Society say they would have opposed the demolition of the iconic Garnett’s cabinet works water tower which they say will be a “sad loss to the town’s heritage and skyline.”

But they have welcomed news of the proposed restoration of the oldest building on the site – the former industrial school and council offices.

As revealed by warrington-worldwide yesterday, Garnett Cabinet Works building on Barbauld Street, Warrington, will be demolished due to its unsafe and dangerous condition.

A Court order has been issued under Section 77 of the Building Act 1984 for the demolition of the building which has been unoccupied for more than 60 years.

Warrington borough Council, who purchased the building last year from private owners, say demolition contractors will initially hoard off the site in order to preserve public safety and then commence immediate demolition works.

Civic Society Chair John Shipley said: “The demolition of the cabinet works, and especially the water tower, will be a sad loss to the town’s heritage and skyline.

“Whilst we accept that certain parts of the buildings are unsafe, Warrington Civic Society did not feel that demolition of the entire site was necessary and would have objected had that been proposed in a planning application.

“Unfortunately, due to the legal route taken by the Council that was not possible.”

John added: “We are pleased that restoration is proposed for oldest building on the site, the former industrial school and council offices.

“Whatever development eventually replaces the cabinet works must also be of the highest possible standard. The buildings have been unused since at least the 1990s and earlier intervention would have allowed a different outcome.

“The loss of the cabinet works highlights the importance of taking a proactive stance and this story of neglect and decay must not be repeated with the town’s remaining heritage.”

The site is a key location within Warrington Borough Council’s framework for growth Warrington Means Business. It will provide a direct link between the £130 million Time Square regeneration project and Warrington’s Cultural Quarter and help grow Warrington town centre’s leisure economy. It will allow easy access across town from the bars, restaurants and cultural amenities surrounding Queens Gardens over to the Time Square project with its multiplex cinema, restaurants and new Market Hall.

Once cleared the site will initially be utilised as a temporary car park before works commence on an eventual residential scheme, subject to planning permission

The former Council office building to the rear of the property adjacent to the Cairo Street Chapel is currently being refurbished by a private developer with the intention of creating it into a restaurant.

Yesterday’s article: http://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2017/11/15/historic-garnett-cabinet-works-to-be-demolished/



About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six 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. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. From the day WBC purchased this site, it was obvious what their next move would be! So what have the Civic Society been doing for the last year?
    Civic Society or rubber stamping club? one has to wonder.

  2. John has been very active in this and other stuff – but in this case was thrown a curved ball.

    I remember what I said in 2011 ‘Cllr Geoff Settle (LAB – Poulton North) said: “I don’t want to be looking back in 12 months time only to be quoting the words of Joni Mitchell saying: “don’t it always seem to be you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot’.”’ Well it’s has happened but 6 years later and nothing was done to get the owner to comply.

    All I have now is a watercolour painting of the skyline – maybe like dead artists it will increase in value the former Mayor of Lisbon and Castlereagh has a framed print that I gave as one of the gifts from Warrington – at least he appreciated it or maybe he was just being polite 🙂 Somebody else bought the original and the money went to the Mayor’s Charity.

    I’ve just done one of the Statue of Mc (Spion Kop memorial) and Queen Vics metal framework Queen’s Garden – just hope my paint pot isn’t a jinx and WBC call in the bull dozers to flatten Palmyra Sq 🙁

      • Looks like SHA and Positon don’t agree with you Gary. Mind you I wouldn’t mind a look at what was submitted as part of the bid process – a lot of money and no evidence that I can see of the document.

      • I agreed with and respect the aims and objectives of the Civic Society Gary, I wish in vain they had more meaningful influence over some of the heritage related planning decisions. Despite my earlier comment, I am glad they have voiced their views on the decision on the Tower. The CoC bid was not made with the town’s dwindling heritage in mind. Moreover, achieving city status will do little to improve the culture of this town, so long as the current mindset in WBC holds sway. As Steve points out very little, if any, of the CoC bid and finances has been made public. Doesn’t strike you as odd, that you have been privileged to the details, but those on whose behalf the money was spent and bid made are being kept in the dark?

      • I know less than you about the bid its been a secret hence my statement about wanting to know more. Maybe its like government papers and members of the public will find out after 30 years. I have no special insights.

        • Why the secrecy though Geoff? We can have a laugh about D Notices, but they were allegedly aimed towards safeguarding that nebulous thing called the “national interest”. Whose interest is under threat here by not disclosing WBC’s CoC bid details?

          • No idea why secrecy still exists you will have to ask Dan Price. He originally argued that he didn’t want the other cities/towns to know the content of WBCs. BUT in case they did what knock down a treasured monument, erected a George Formby plaque etc. There is no need for that secrecy now under that reason – I’m still waiting for a rely to a Full Council Question I raised months ago so I doubt if he’ll tell me – you may know he so please direct your query in that direction of raise it at the next Council Meeting – he won’t need to do research as the answer will be in his head and the content of the report on a council drive or in the cloud. Good Luck. – You could always try a local editor to arrange an interview LIVE on Facebook as the current trend appears to be.

  3. Unfortunately the Civic Society has no real clout when it comes to decision making or saving buildings. Yes they can voice their concerns etc but to some extent their input and views are probably only every classed as a box ticking exercise by the council to show they [council] as having ‘consulted’ with a interested ‘party’ or ‘body’.

    Sad really as at one time the Civics Society would have been listened to more but then again times change….probably not helped too much with current councillors being members too though meaning they could be said to no be 100% impartial of any future developments . Such is life though I suppose in an ever changing world where plans are in the pipelines and possible development money to be had is again classed as a key target.

    I feel bad for saying this but the Tower and Cabinet Works has been at risk for many years and has hit the headlines many times with regards to saving it from the scrap heap so for the Civics to now say they ‘would have opposed the demolition of the iconic Garnett’s cabinet works water tower which they say will be a “sad loss to the town’s heritage and skyline’ is a little too late and a pointless statement as it’s been known for years it was under threat 🙁

    Ahh well at least we will all have somewhere to temporarily park again at ground level for a while eh ?!?

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