Grimsby's Victorian public buildings under threat

Three Victorian buildings on Eleanor Street are at serious risk from a new planning application which seeks to completely demolish one and substantially demolish the others to be replaced with new commercial and residential units.

The buildings at risk include the former Grimsby College of Art and Design which is formed of two Grade II-listed Victorian buildings, nos 7 and 9 Eleanor Street. Both buildings were designed by Grimsby architect Herbert Scaping who designed several other local prominent Victorian buildings including the Old Court House and Workhouse/Old Hospital.

The listed buildings appeared on the Victorian Society’s Top 10 Endangered Buildings list in 2013 as, since they were vacated by the Art College in 1994, they had been left to fall into disrepair. We warned that the current deplorable state of the buildings demanded urgent action, but no action was taken and, subsequently, both listed buildings fell into steadily worse dereliction, at frequent risk from vandalism and fire damage. Now, much of the original material that has survived such neglect will get demolished if the application gets consent, as the scheme from developers BPS proposes to keep just the front and side facades of both buildings.

“It’s such a disappointing application in so many ways,” says Anna Shelley, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. “There is so much wanton demolition and then what is proposed to replace it so negatively affects the original material that is left. Façade retention schemes are often contentious but as with all things there is a scale and the way these proposals have been put together does not show these heritage assets the care and respect they have so long deserved.”

The listed buildings are not the only buildings at risk from the planning application. It also proposes to completely demolish no 5 Eleanor Street, a large Victorian house next door. Though this building is not nationally listed like its neighbours, it is locally listed and was the former home of surgeon Thomas W. J. Allen. It is of high local significance, as recognised by North East Lincolnshire council, and shares a stylistic and material connection to its listed neighbours, adding to the strong group value of the street which would be seriously eroded if the proposals go ahead.

The application has already received objections from several heritage groups, including ourselves, SAVE Britain’s Heritage and Historic England. We strongly urge the Council not to approve the scheme in its current form as it would cause serious harm to the buildings themselves as well as the entire Holme Hill Conservation Area which special character and appearance is defined by educational and domestic buildings like these.

The planning application reference is DM/1120/17/LBC and can be viewed, along with our objection letter in full, here.


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