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Steve Parish

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Everything posted by Steve Parish

  1. I'm not making excuses because so far as I can see the developers (for the Ship Inn) haven't done anything wrong. The workmen in the building weren't doing anything unusual, or that would cause a collapse, and had no warning and were lucky to escape injury. If anyone knows different, go to the police. As to Ancoats, if there had been a cabinet works preservation society ... but the Ancoats mills are far more important heritage buildings (grade 2*) and it was the NWDA (now abolished) that CPOd them and gave a grant. Re enforcement, PTS did what was requested, but (we're just repeating stuff now) to stop access off and through roofs is impossible.
  2. Well, I don't know if you're a burglar but I'm not going to accuse you without evidence. The parish council has no evidence. There is no evidence of the developer not wanting to preserve the Ship Inn (but some evidence to the contrary - because that's what they applied to do rather than seek demolition), no evidence of prior warning of collapse. In fact, you've got nothing. I'd advise Gary to consult his lawyers on corporate defamation. For an out of town example of what happens to old buildings which developers intend to retain, here's my photo of an old pub in Manchester. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/129484 Urban Splash planned to use it as a central feature of New Islington, but it was burned down. Nothing "suspicious" behind the arson itself; it happens to empty buildings (the Howley pub survived an arson attack). "Convenient fires" may give rise to suspicions - it's reckoned somewhere between 10 and 20% of fires in the UK are insurance fraud - but evidence and successful prosecution is something else, and evidence-less accusations can lead to defamation cases.
  3. Grey_man, this is getting silly. The developer suggested that traffic - or other things - "may have been contributory factors". You say in that case why allow new build in the same location. I say modern foundations are better. And you respond, "In which case every single building anywhere near a road built before (let's say) the 1970s is at risk of imminent collapse. Is that what you're saying?" No of course it isn't - that's a crazy jump in logic. But if a building next to a busy road collapses, people can blame the traffic. http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/darwen/8184556.display/ Technically, road vibrations should not cause structural damage (unless there's some fault in the building already): http://ihbc.org.uk/context_archive/47/ian.htm I think this quote is a combination of science and speculation but: "Ground-borne vibrations caused by HGVs have been measured at less than 0.5mm/s at a 15m distance with good road surface conditions, however figures as high as 7 times that level have been reported at closer distances. It would appear somewhat unlikely that road vehicle generated vibration will cause significant damage. However, size and weight, speed of vehicle and quality of road surface all play a part, and frequency of traffic over extended time may also change the conclusions. in fact, buildings close to heavily trafficked roads may be exposed to many thousands of stress cycles each day so the vibration dose over many years could be considerable." http://www.captiondata.com/can-traffic-induced-vibration-damage-buildings/ Try also http://travelwest.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/d46.pdf You ask a question that can't be answered, "What is the evidence that the explanation for the collapse of The Ship Inn is correct?", because there is no explanation. "It has not been possible to pinpoint the precise mechanism for the original collapse." They've described what happened but can only guess at the cause. That does not justify the parish council's accusation of "professional disregard" by the developer. It's not like the Bay Horse, a deliberate act and a criminal offence. Nor am I seeking to side with the developers who bought the cabinet works as a speculative venture. Whether they or previous owners could have done more to protect it, and whether it would have been possible to enforce repairs on an unlisted building (not as easy as some think) are arguments to be had, but it doesn't help the present situation. Unless it was done some years ago, I doubt that GPR was done when it was last assessed (by PTS's appointed engineer) but I'll check, and, as previously indicated, no engineer has been in for a full survey in a long while. By and large, developers are willing (as with the Ship) to retain heritage assets. There have been a couple of recent appeals where non-designated heritage assets have been refused demolition, but I'm not sure whether they're the norm. See http://planninglawblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/locally-listed-buildings.html for one consultant's view of how little protection a "local list" gives.
  4. The point is that structural strengthening would be needed for the tower if free-standing, so effectively a steel skeleton might need to be built within it (in a nine-foot wide space). It looks like two sides of the tower replaced a corner of the original 1860s works, and (in the absence of plans) it may rest on the foundations of a building half the height. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_On_The_Green Now this is a Victorian factory obviously with saving - and NB the original collapsed, so I'd not be confident that they got things right in that era.
  5. Modern foundations are better, and designed for 44-ton lorries going past. And back on topic, no-one knows how deep the foundations of the Garnett tower go, or don't.
  6. If you mean that with no evidence the parish council publicly accuse the developer of 'professional disregard' for the Ship Inn, then maybe they've just been spending too much time on here. For the record, the developer says, “The ‘soft strip out’ works being undertaken at the time of the collapse were the second stage of the structural assessment, which would only have been possible when the internal walls / ceilings and lintels were exposed for inspection. Unfortunately circumstances have now moved on. In terms of the collapse of the original building, as I have explained previously, all investigations suggest that the collapse commenced with one of the chimneys, which then fell through the upper ceilings/lower floors/roof of the single storey lean-to, causing the front elevation to be ‘blown out’ into the nearside carriageway of Chester Road. Following the initial collapse, the precarious condition of the remaining sections of the building and its immediate proximity to the main road /footpath, the remainder of the building had to be demolished due to the obvious health and safety risks. As you know this had to be done within 2 hours of the initial collapse. Unfortunately, as the building was no longer available for inspection, it has not been possible to pinpoint the precise mechanism for the original collapse, but it has been suggested that the following may have been contributory factors: • The age of the building; • Deterioration of the historical construction materials; • The extent of previous internal adaptations carried out when the building was a restaurant; • Traffic vibration [from main road and construction traffic]; • Changes in the integrity of internal walls during soft strip out works. Hopefully this planning application package goes some way to demonstrate that the collapse of the building was by no means intentional and shows our commitment to try and re-establish the character of the site frontage in a sympathetic way. The proposals aim to replicate the historical architecture and character of the original Ship Inn.”
  7. Chester's deliberations: http://connect.cheshirewestandchester.public-i.tv/document/20101103_ex_item9.pdf
  8. By "this very site" I assume you mean the Cabinet Works. If there was any remote chance that it was commercially a goer, that would be brilliant (though not sure where that would leave the finances of the Parr Hall). But there would be no council subsidy and even established regional theatres are struggling - e.g. at Coventry, with 50% more people than Warrington, and only one major city nearby with rival theatres (we have two) http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/belgrade-theatre-could-forced-replace-10313191 Does the Brindley pay its way?
  9. Now I'm not sure, but I suspect that converting the inn to a dwelling would have cost less than the cost of demolishing and building new on much the same footprint. Cue Elvis...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjR_FBL7vb8&feature=player_detailpage
  10. If it's still there (it would have been redundant maybe a century ago)... If demolition is given consent, a condition on preservation of historic industrial equipment could be included. Just that one man's historic artefact is someone else's scrap (see Fiddle i' th' Bag!) Dizzy, If access is urgently needed, the school would be easier to demolish than the whole of the Victoria Works (the "new" bit on Barbauld Street). We are looking at alternative to deal with the danger. Incidentally, the Ship collapse was apparently down to a chimney breast collapse which took other bits with it. (Replacement housing agreed at plans committee last night. Not a replica, but very similar elevations and window positions, and appearance, i.e. rendered walls.)
  11. We haven't tried to protect all the cabinet works but have tried to save the tower - whether it was ever viable / sustainable to do so has been overtaken by events. Labour in opposition objected to the Walton Hall sell off and didn't have to do much in power as the scheme proved unviable for the developer. But it would have preserved the heritage - just not with open public access. No action to be taken over the Ship Inn (no evidence of anything other than unexpected and unexplained collapse). Only conspiracy theorists think otherwise! We are acting to protect the bridge but it will take a lot of money to preserve a bridge with no functional use. We're hoping it will be with external funding rather than your money. Since the Golden Square "clearances" (before my time in Warrington) we've lost only a handful of listed buildings and of course you don't see the routine efforts by officers (and owners by and large) to avoid inappropriate alterations to heritage buildings (e.g. I objected to PVC windows on premises on Winmarleigh St but it couldn't be enforced). Frankly, it may have been insistence on how the tower was preserved (i.e. not by dismantling and rebuilding) that made it commercially unrealistic to incorporate it in a new development around it. It is nice to answer direct and reasonable questions. You would get more members on here I'm sure if suspicion, accusation, and outrageous speculation (and edge-of-libel statements) were kept in check!
  12. Sha, I really can't be bothered detailed rebuttal but Quote Steve; "amid all the conspiracy theories" That's a very revealing phrase re your attitude to the concerns of the general public Steve. No, just to the attitudes of some on this forum. Quote Steve; "(including me until I decided the danger, including to listed buildings as well as people, outweighed the heritage interest)" Utter bullshit! As you've posted previously, you have for some years supported demolition. Well, yes – once I realised the state of the building and the danger! My big fear was arson though my fire service friends tell me it’s “low loading” – i.e. not much left that’s combustible – but all the fire service could do is let it burn (can’t go in, can’t fight it from Barbauld St in case the wall collapsed, and access from Cairo Street limited. Quote Steve; "All the evidence is that councillors have wanted to save it" Bullshit! WBC have been in consultation with the owners over the years for plans to redevelop the site - plans which don't include saving the present buildings. So why did councillors reject the demolition and car park application? Of course the Council has consultation with owners – it’s a legal obligation – and demolition of all but the tower has been acceptable (in planning terms) for a long time. How to save the tower has been the issue (including the simple question of whether it could stand up by itself). "having 'acted on the advice of officers' is not a valid legal excuse". You'd have to quote me chapter and verse on the legal responsibility of planning committee members - it's not quite how the government sees it, as if the committee turns down an application against officer advice, and the applicant wins on appeal, the likelihood is that the Council will be found to have acted unreasonably and have to pay costs (your money), and if we do it too often, the government may take away the decisions from any "democratic" intervention. Dizzy, The police have been called umpteen times. Despite CCTV, a good pic of two culprits, the helicopter, and dogs, no-one's been arrested. They want it down as do the fire service. Now this will annoy the conspiracy theorists but we're not saying where the immediate dangers are in case it attracts the vandals. The old industrial school is the one "that seems in quite good condition" but the operative word is "seems" as I'm told it's a wreck inside - a pity as for me it is the most interesting building on the site (with a bit of a mystery over the date on the plaque on the chimney stack - which might just be the date they built the chimney...)
  13. Thanks Davy for a reasonable question amid all the conspiracy theories. I don't know the full ownership history and can't answer for the present owners but they bought before the downturn and may have hoped someone like Urban Splash would take it on with the sort of scheme mentioned. Sadly the recession killed that off (and the rival schemes for back of Bridge st and opposite central station). Then the vandalism started in earnest. The council paid good money 2 years ago for a Masterplan that said what they thought the council wanted to hear, that all the works could be saved, but they never assessed viability. All the evidence is that councillors have wanted to save it (including me until I decided the danger, including to listed buildings as well as people, outweighed the heritage interest).
  14. I'm dodging nothing as the cost of the new offices (replacing rented offices) was in another thread. Milky, do what I said. Google "Victorian water towers".
  15. I'm really not going to respond to all that but if you think an industrial museum would be "sustainable" (in paying for itself) I'm sorry that's fantasy. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brutal-cuts-force-uk-museums-to-close-their-doors-7902934.html As a "water tower aficionado" I suggest you google for images of Victorian water towers to see really interesting and attractive towers - don't forget that below what's visible, our tower loses the fancy masonry and the bottom half is just stock brick. As for cost, it's an intelligent guess (but based on officers' and my own experience of repairs to heritage buildings). 12 years ago the water tower from St Pancras station was moved and rebuilt - brick by brick would have risked damage and they managed to chop it into horizontal sections to move it - the bottom section is a replica. . Only 20 feet high - and to move it cost £900,000 12 years ago.
  16. That's what we're trying to avoid - knock it down (carefully) before it falls down!
  17. This isn't the worst. You don't have to be next to the road for a pile of masonry falling from 70' to be a danger to life. Baz, if you think the majority of people in the town would spend £2m or more of effectively their own money to keep this "important piece of the town's history" then I'll beg to differ. Half of them have never noticed it. And frankly, it's neither that important or that attractive (which is why it's not listed). You can say what you like about speculative developers, but if the Council hadn't been concerned about trying to save it, it would have been demolished years ago. I thought it was beyond redemption when the proposal was to demolish and put a car park on the site but my colleagues on plans committee turned it down (and PTS didn't appeal). On principle, you shouldn't allow loss of a heritage building without something good in its place, but I don't think now we've got time to think what might go on the site. £3m for the youthzone would have been for ready to open (with other funding). You'd spend well over £3m just to repair the basic fabric of these buildings (those that haven't already collapsed). I think of Ancoats Dispensary - even Urban Splash gave up on that but Heritage Lottery Fund are willing to stump up £770k to save it. They won't save the Garnett tower. If HLF were willing to give money to save heritage in the town, the transporter bridge would be the priority. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/ancoats-dispensary-saved---after-8929104
  18. I'm not sure how my replies were "vague"! The last application was withdrawn - frankly the idea of building a replica tower made no sense in terms of a financially viable proposal for the site, or in heritage terms. "We were not told that were we?" Yes, it was in the planning application. None of the immediately dangerous bits are over the highway - they're over private property (e.g. big holes in Poundland's roof from dropped masonry - a bit of their building not used - Poundland being the old Garnett showroom). If you're talking about using a crane to deal with "loose bricks" then you know why it would cost so much. The top of the tower would have to be dismantled and rebuilt, not at all cheap at that height with access so difficult (and demolishing the other buildings around isn't easy without strengthening the tower first - on at least one face (but not all) it's tied in to the original cabinet works, which Garnett sliced into in order to build the tower). Either they gave no thought to future maintenance or just expected there would always be a steeplejack willing to risk life and limb. I'm not even sure how they got the tank up there - from the urban explorer pictures it looks as if it may be several sections welded or bolted together.
  19. For Dizzy, the youtube video just shows what free runners do. The CCTV just means they wear balaclavas. There's always a risk of damage to buildings from the jumps themselves but most free runners are doing it for fun and danger, not intent on criminal damage and life-threatening actions. Two coping stones (and many bricks) were thrown off in July, the rest in September. I did go the meeting. For Sha, I might not make a habit of this, but here we go. "It's been impossible to stop "free runners" getting in. https://www.youtube....h?v=1hM9tNyNE4MSomeone willing to jump a ten foot gap fifty feet up and then break through a roof isn't bothered about boarding up". Has anybody actually seen proof that "free runners" have been in? Free runners have been seen leaping across roofs; if they can get on the roof they can get in. Someone has wrecked the tower and other bits. You say, "Over one weekend last September they demolished the tower parapet". Who exactly are 'they' and what is the proof? I'm told people from the bar in Cairo Street watched as it happened. "From earlier incidents (debris dropped on cars in the street) I have a police report which basically says we had the place surrounded but they got away". Were 'they' actually seen? I saw them. Throwing stuff into Barbauld Street, screaming like banshees, and tying up police resources for hours. On another occasion there were CCTV pics of two young men, published in the media, but as far as I know no-one identified them. Whatever,'they' could climb on any building in the town and throw slates etc off but would knocking the building down be considered as a solution? Obviously buildings in use are less likely to be targeted and would be insured (and would be worth repairing) and there would be greater chance of capturing culprits. But other bits of the building have simply deteriorated (wooden window frames at high level rotting but holding up brickwork, the steel stanchions holding the tank in the tower have corroded distorting the masonry). Neglect by both the owner and WBC. No doubt the tank could have been removed as soon as it ceased to be used (though carting cutting equipment up the tower would have been interesting), but I'm not sure how easy it would have been to extract the stanchions from the masonry without damage to the fabric of the building. Even simple repairs may need access from others' property. The police won't go in, the fire service won't go in, structural engineers won't go in, safe access for any repair is very difficult. Urban explorers (who generally only take photos) have given up on it as a deathtrap. If no one is going in how can they have done a proper survey? They can't. The last engineering report was done as part of an application to demolish, but, unless the urban explorers are also engineers, no qualified engineer has been up the tower for years. That's why the Council sent up the drone. Whether there was a time when saving it was technically possible I know not, but it was never commercially viable to redevelop the buildings (or redevelop the site but leave the tower). How do you know that? have you the facts and figures? You can't easily complain about the perfectly sound empty buildings in Bridge Street, and not realise why it's not commercially viable to redevelop the Garnett buildings. Why would it have to be commercially viable? Don't you think that making sure it wasn't profitable to developers to neglect heritage buildings might act as a deterrent? It's a bit two-edged - most developers take on a building knowing what they want to do with it. There was always the possibility of demolishing all buildings except the tower, but the cost of retaining, repairing, structural strengthening and future maintenance of the tower has added a million or two to the cost of development. PTS may have just hoped the market would pick up. However fascinating (early sprinkler system, suction machines to take wood shavings to the boiler, gas engine to generate electricity), none of it is important enough to be listed (not even the 1845 industrial school). If the council tried to get a court order to enforce repairs, the court would have decided what's "reasonable" and spending millions more than the value of the site to repair a redundant water tower with no prospect of alternative use would almost certainly be judged unreasonable (and safety trumps all). How do you know what the court may or may not do? The court might be as inclined to make sure the vandals that have neglected this building are taught a lesson as they would with the petty vandals that throw bricks from the roof. I did say "almost certainly". The court would be looking at the "is" not "what might have been". Feel free to seek your own legal advice or search out precedents. Just because you don't see an alternative use for the building doesn't mean there isn't one - I could think of many. Also, 'trumped up' safety issues count for nothing. I suspect none of your alternative uses would be remotely viable. What would bring in revenue to recoup two million pounds repair costs? Nothing is "trumped up". We're talking life-threatening issues. As a water tower aficionado, I'd be sorry to see it go, but it may be a victim of its own design. I conjecture, but they wanted a header tank, it needed a space 16 feet wide, the architect Mr Eccles told Mr Garnett that they didn't need a 16 foot wide tower, just nine feet and corbel out to take the tank, and while we're at it we can make it look a bit like the old palace tower in Florence (Torre d'Arnolfo). The Guardian says it's based on a tower in Sienna (Torre del Mangia) but that's not quite as old and even more ornate, so unless they have evidence of that, I'm sticking to Florence as the model. But let's not pretend it's as interesting as a medieval Italian tower. The trouble is that it might conceivably have been easier to find an alternative use for a tower full width throughout. I've not seen any of the urban explorers' pictures that look like the original gas engine might have been left in the building once they got mains electricity.
  20. It's been impossible to stop "free runners" getting in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hM9tNyNE4M Someone willing to jump a ten foot gap fifty feet up and then break through a roof isn't bothered about boarding up. Over one weekend last September they demolished the tower parapet. From earlier incidents (debris dropped on cars in the street) I have a police report which basically says we had the place surrounded but they got away. But other bits of the building have simply deteriorated (wooden window frames at high level rotting but holding up brickwork, the steel stanchions holding the tank in the tower have corroded distorting the masonry). The police won't go in, the fire service won't go in, structural engineers won't go in, safe access for any repair is very difficult. Urban explorers (who generally only take photos) have given up on it as a deathtrap. Whether there was a time when saving it was technically possible I know not, but it was never commercially viable to redevelop the buildings (or redevelop the site but leave the tower). However fascinating (early sprinkler system, suction machines to take wood shavings to the boiler, gas engine to generate electricity), none of it is important enough to be listed (not even the 1845 industrial school). If the council tried to get a court order to enforce repairs, the court would have decided what's "reasonable" and spending millions more than the value of the site to repair a redundant water tower with no prospect of alternative use would almost certainly be judged unreasonable (and safety trumps all). If it does go, then the town clock resumes its place as the main feature of the town centre skyline, and (judging by Mr Garnett's comments at the opening of the new works) I guess there were people in 1906 who thought it not exactly the best thing for the skyline then: “Alluding to the tower which surmounted the works, Mr G said he considered it an ornament for the town. Although the building was for purely commercial purposes, they regretted if in its creation they had done anything that was not exactly in accord with their neighbours’ feelings. At the same time he thought they had not been unmindful of the possibilities of beauty”.
  21. Councillors didn't just sit back - Labour objected, and in the end the deal fell through. It wasn't the best moment of the LibDem/Tory "shared administration". As for Peel Hall, the land was allocated for development in the New Town Outline Plan approved as long ago as 1972; I'm not sure how, in the annals of the Development Corporation, to discover if the sale price for the land was on that basis rather than (as some people think, who may be wrong) just as agricultural value. The vague wording of the green belt boundary meant the courts ruled the M62 was the obvious green belt boundary, but Peel Hall is still a "greenfield" site, and the Council has tried to prioritise use of brownfield (previously built-on) sites. That was in the Core Strategy. but then this government changed the rules, Satnam went to court and won most of their case, so we can expect a new outline planning application. This government's principle is that the default answer for a planning application is "yes", and they want new housing built (and falsely blame councils for not granting consent when there are umpteen consented developments where developers don't proceed because they want more profit). One Derbyshire Council recently had to abandon its core strategy after all the public inquiry. They could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing in the pipeline, and they couldn't do that because their calculation of how many houses they'd get in the five-year period was scuppered by developers letting existing consents lapse. The best laid council plans are subject to the whim of developers and government policy.
  22. The landowner acquired the land from the former New Town Development Corporation many years ago. See Eileen Bilton.
  23. The 3 / 7 derives from s.73 of the 1985 Transport Act, and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1985/1901/contents/made. The company has no choice (actually it's the Council as controlling authority which has no choice). I'm not divulging individual pay rates, but (as one comparison) the employers contribution for the teachers pension scheme is now 16%, for the police it's 24%. "Council members get no remuneration". Full stop. No pay, no pension. I've got a director's bus pass - but I usually use my concessionary pass as that gives the company some income.
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