Friday, May 11, 2012

Newham Planning and Historic Environment Tour

I've been meaning to post on this for a while. Last month I went on a bus tour of Newham Conservation areas and listed buildings with other Councillors.

Newham has 9 conservation areas and 114 listed buildings or groups of buildings. The oldest dating from the 12th Century.

Pictured in the collage include East Ham and Stratford Town Hall, a memorial to victims of the Titanic, the entrance to City of London Cemetery, historic railways stations, the Red House (no known socialist connection except it was once the home of a Mr Tuthill, the manufacturer of early trade union banners!) and the workers memorial statute in Three Mills Green (which isn't currently listed because it is less than 30 years old but I am looking into applying for this status because of the memorial flagstones around it which are)

Highlight of the tour was the Norman St Mary Magdalene Church in East Ham where we had a tour by its vicar (and local Councillor!) and Temple Mills.  Near to Temple Mills was the scene of the famous strike in 1972 (Chobham Farm warehouse) which led to the Pentonville Five trade unionists being imprisoned (including Vic Turner who later became Mayor of Newham).

Many thanks to the officers and local volunteers for organising a superb tour. The serious purpose of which was to make us aware of the rather complex and detailed planning regulations regarding historic buildings and conservation areas.


Anonymous said...

Newham does have some great historic listed buildings. But I wonder whether your tour took in the 112th on the list, the Spotted Dog Public House at 212 Upton Lane. As you know this Grade II listed building is a 15th century building, a former hunting lodge, and one of the oldest pubs in the East End. As I'm sure you are very much aware, it has been boarded up for some years after the owner began some unapproved work on it. I have asked the Council to look into this and have had assurances that the state of the building is monitored. But it is clearly at considerable risk (we remember the fate of another listed building, Angel Cottage, which was illegally demolished - and has not been reinstated). It would be entirely within the Council's power to compulsorily purchase the Spotted Dog to protect it for future generations.

I remain very concerned about it and I wonder what your views on this are.


John Gray said...

Hi Adrian

I use to drink in the Spotted Dog and it was a great pub.

We didn't visit it but it was discussed. My understanding is that there are two issues. Firstly it is the responsibility of the owners to repair and maintain a listed building and that a Compulsory Purchase Order can only be a last resort.

The bigger problem is that the cost of refurbishing the building and bringing it back into use is likely to be more than it will be worth once this is completed.

What this means is that it will need some sort of significant subsidy either from the private sector or the public sector (or both) to fill this gap.

There have been a number of plans in the past which haven't yet come to anything.

If there is a viable business plan in the future that will refurbish it and bring it back into use I am sure it will get a lot of support from all quarters.

Anonymous said...

Hi John
Thanks for your reply.
The issue, as I see it, is that we should not reduce the care of an historic building like the Spotted Dog simply to money. If we did that we would have hardly any historic buildings. Most could be demolished and developed at great profit.
It is hard to think who else, but our council, is in a position to save this building. The Council has the power to compulsorily purchase it, to proect it for future generations. And I beleive this is what our Council ought to do.

John Gray said...

Hi Adrian

The first issue that you have to address is whether or not the Council had the legal power (at this time) to CPO? My understanding is that it doesn't.

Even if the money was available there is no legal power to CPO in order to refurbish and bring back to use a listed building.