Sunday 25 February 2024
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Nottingham’s Guildhall redevelopment on hold

The redevelopment of Nottingham’s Guildhall has been put on hold while Nottingham City Council and a developer appeal a decision to give another part of the site Grade II listed protected status.

The site, which fronts Shakespeare Street, South Sherwood Street, Burton Street and North Church Street, is made up of a series of historic buildings including the Guildhall and the former Police Headquarters and Central Fire Station.

Plans were approved in August 2020 to restore and expand the Guildhall building, which would be linked by bridge to a 13-storey tower, for use as a hotel.

Derby-based developer Miller Birch later submitted plans to demolish the neighbouring police and fire station building and build two tower blocks featuring around 900 beds for students.

This application was recommended for approval at a planning meeting in January, but at the eleventh hour the building was given Grade II listed protection by the Department for Media, Culture and Sport, upon the recommendation of Historic England.

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Any movement on the entire site has since been on hold and the council told the says it has lodged a joint appeal with the prospective new owners to overturn the Government’s decision.

Hilary Silvester, of the Nottingham Civic Society, which opposed the student scheme, described the news as “appalling”.

“It is totally the wrong decision to make on their part,” she said, adding that she had not been informed of the council’s appeal.

“It is a good example of buildings of that era. A lot of people came out in support of protecting the building.

“It is part of a group of listed buildings in that part of the city and it should be taken on and developed imaginatively, incorporating its mid-20th Century features.”

The bombproof C-shaped police and fire station building, which fronts Shakespeare Street, was built in the 1930s after the General Purposes Committee proposed an extension to the Guildhall that would provide spacious modern facilities for both services.

Modern fire facilities were required due to the threat of war and the Home Office eventually insisted the police’s premises should also be improved, because its old HQ in the basement of the Guildhall was deemed to be “impractical and detrimental to officers’ health”.

The building closed in 2016 and the services were relocated due to soaring upkeep costs.

Miller Birch submitted plans to demolish the vacant building and build two student apartment blocks between eight and 13 storeys in height.

One block would have been operated by Vita Student, with enough room for 512 studio flats, while a second would be operated by House of Social with room for a further 454 apartments.

However the listing forced the plans to be pulled from consideration.

They had been designed to compliment existing plans already approved for a hotel within the Guildhall, according to the developer.

Plans for the Guildhall building, built in 1887, were granted planning permission in 2020 pending final sale of the building, which belongs to the council.

The plans stated the Grade II listed building would undergo a conversion and restoration to create a total of 39 hotel bedrooms, a restored grand reception space, a restaurant and bar in former courtrooms, as well as a spa and gym at basement level.

There would also be a five-storey northern extension which would create a further 20 guest bedrooms.

A glass bridge would then provide a link to a proposed 13-storey tower building which would feature 101 additional hotel bedrooms, a rooftop restaurant, a bar and a terrace.

According to the Government there is no fee for appealing.

The Department for Media, Culture and Sport has been contacted for comment.

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