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Planners frustrated by loss of historic building

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PLANNING bosses have expressed their frustration at having to decide whether one of Warrington’s historic buildings should be demolished – when in fact the bulldozers had already done their work.
The borough council’s development management committee were left with no choice but approve the demolition of the 19th century Sunday School next to Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel because it had already been demolished.
Chairman Cllr Tony McCarthy said all members of the committee were frustrated.
Another of Warrington’s historic buildings had been lost – and there was nothing they could do about it.
The Sunday School building – which adjoined the former Cabinet Works and Garnett’s Tower, also already demolished – had deteriorated through years of neglect, vandalism and weather to the extent that it could not be saved.
After the meeting, Cllr McCarthy said: “We need a list of Warrington’s historic buildings, whether in public or private ownership, together with their owners so that we can do something to prevent them reaching the state that they are a health and safety hazard and beyond economic repair.
“If not, we will lose more buildings.”
Historic England had indicated it could not support the loss of the Sunday School as it added to the significance of the adjoining chapel, which dates from 1745 and is the second oldest place of worship in Warrington.
But they did not object to the demolition because of the dilapidated condition of the building.
Planning officers said the loss of the building was “highly regrettable.”
A structural report had indicated the building was in a dangerous condition.
The Sunday School was the subject of an archaeological evaluation in 2006 and a programme of historic building recording the following year. The reports are now held in the Cheshire Historic Environment Record.
Consent to demolish it was granted in 2008, but the work was not undertaken at that time and since then the building has been broken into several times and more damage caused both internally and externally.
As a result, the architectural and historic interest of the building had been severely diminished.
The committee was told the demolition of the Sunday School and the other buildings already demolished, wouldl enable regeneration of the area to take place.
While the exact nature of the redevelopment was not yet known, the Masterplan for the area made it clear that any future redevelopment would be sensitive and seek to enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area and preserve the setting and significance of the Listed Cairo Street Chapel.

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  1. “The borough council’s development management committee were left with no choice but approve the demolition of the 19th century Sunday School next to Cairo Street Unitarian Chapel because it had already been demolished.” No choice? of course they had a choice! they should have refused approval and a charge of criminal damage should have been brought! Also a charge of ‘wilful neglect’ against Warrington & Co for leaving the building to rot for years. “A structural report had indicated the building was in a dangerous condition” Who commissioned this report and when? Were historic England notified of the proposed ’emergency’ demolition and given the opportunity to send an independent surveyor? .All this false “regret” and “frustration” is sickening! Why did the Council not intervene years ago? as they have the power to force owners to carry out repairs. The answer to that is because they don’t really give a damm about heritage! The demolition of the Water Tower was also unnecessary – the costs of pulling it down were probably more than the cost would have been to repair it! It’s obvious to all that the intention to clear this site for development has long been the uppermost concern and it’s an insult to our intelligence that they are all now professing “regret”. They say “the Masterplan for the area made it clear that future redevelopment would be sensitive and seek to enhance the character and appearance of the Conservation Area…” Yeah sure! about as “sensitive” as that carbuncle of a car park they’ve blighted the town with or the high rise constructions on Times Square, or any of the rest of the so-called “regeneration” of the town centre included in the ‘masterplan’ that CABE Design refused to support and criticised as ‘insensitive’ to the surrounding heritage buildings. Absolute disgrace that public money is being used to facilitate these ‘bodies’ to destroy our town. Time it was stopped!

    • Here here !!

      Planners should be enforcing rules, not aiding and abetting unscrupulous owners and developers. Compulsory purchases, fines for willful neglect etc? Do any of the planners actually live in Warrington? Or care about its history? There was talk a few months back of making Warrington bid for capital of culture? That’s pretty difficult task when its own planners are pitched against the town’s population and their wishes.

  2. Dear planning bosses. Please read the above post by SHA
    For future reference, that’s what “frustration” looks like. I might not agree with all of it, but the passion is obvious, and your crocodile tears are fooling no one. It’s no wonder people think you’re either corrupt or inept.

  3. at one time bus stations used to be hidden away now it seems to be warrington pride and joy.its a monstrocity that needs hiding away somewhere else.warrington used to be a beautifull place and proud to be a warringtonian.

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