Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

OUTCRY AT 'BAFFLING' LISTING

  • Comment
NEWS

A bitter spat has broken out in Plymouth between the local council and English Heritage (EH) over the 'bafing' decision to list the city's 1961 Civic Centre.

The surprise move by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has torpedoed plans by the city council, the owner of the crumbling complex, to redevelop the building - a key site at the heart of Plymouth's massive regeneration proposals.

However, a spokesman for the authority told the AJ that the council was not going 'to let the matter lie' and was intent on using the 28-day appeal period to ask EH to review its decision to recommend the building for Grade-II status.

The city council wants to atten the existing centre, with its 14-storey Modernist block and a lower 'mini Festival of Britain' chamber, and replace it with a new mixed-use development including a library.

After years of delays, the council had only recently appointed a developer - Rok Development - to take on the job, which would also see 1,000 staff move from the tower into a new purpose-built home.

Richard Longford, from Plymouth City Council, said: 'Obviously the decision causes us serious problems and we are very disappointed and surprised.

'We don't consider the building has the merit English Heritage says it has. The tower has changed a lot and was not finished as intended.'

Originally designed in 1954 by H J W Stirling, but completed by a team including Alan Ballantyne and famous landscape architect Geoffrey Jellicoe, the building is almost universally disliked in the city and has been described by the Civic Society as a 'beast' and by the local economic development group as 'hugely ugly'.

Even Pevsner branded the building, which has suffered from a number of serious structural problems over the years, a 'disturbingly prominent lopsided imposition'.

Yet the listing has been warmly welcomed by the 20th Century Society, which recommended the building to EH for protection.

A spokesman said: 'The council-chamber block is of superb detailing and features artworks of outstanding significance.

'It stands out in terms of style as well as of height and was conceived as an ambitious and optimistic civic symbol.'

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.