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Race against time to save historic pumping station

A 19th century pumping station in Northumberland Park is faced with demolition to make way for more bus parking.

Former Longwater Pumping Station, Marsh Lane

The proposals put forward by bus and coach company Go Ahead group involve the total demolition of the former Longwater Pumping Station on Marsh Lane to expand their neighbouring bus depot. The Victorian Society believes the demolition of a locally listed building is unnecessary in this case and would obliterate an important part of the local area’s history, all to allow space for a few more buses which could be found elsewhere.

Victorian pumping stations were often a source of great civic pride in the 19th century, reflecting the obvious importance of the provision of a clean water supply. The Longwater Pumping Station is a handsome, red brick building that has great character and was built at considerable expense. This importance is reflected in its locally listed status, but as it does not currently have nationally listed status it is vulnerable to demolition.

The recent application for demolition from the Go Ahead group has been refused on the grounds of insufficient information for the restoration of the site, but there is little doubt that this is simply a momentary setback and Go Ahead will come back shortly with a reapplication.

Because demolition rather than redevelopment is proposed, planning permission is not needed in this case. The Victorian Society urges Haringey Council to serve an Article 4 notice, which would make planning permission a requirement and would therefore enable a more balanced judgement on the proposed loss of a heritage asset.

Alex Bowring, Conservation Adviser for The Victorian Society, says: “Go Ahead are putting their expansion needs above the importance of an important feature of the local scene; the pumping station is an architecturally and historically interesting building with a lot of character which is irreplaceable. Go Ahead should think again and keep the pumping station intact, and Haringey Council should use its powers to protect it anyway.” 

Thursday 4 May

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