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Penrose refuses listing for 1970s War Graves HQ

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Architecture Minister has rejected English Heritage (EH) advice to list the ‘fortress-like’ 1974 Commonwealth War Graves Commission Headquarters (CWGC) in Maidenhead

Despite EH’s recommendation to give statutory protection to the ‘dignified, sober and respectful’ building by Fitzroy Robinson (see attached report), John Penrose felt the RIBA Award-winning brick office block was ‘not of sufficient architectural or historical significance to merit listing’.

Following the news, EH’s head of designation Roger Bowdler said: ‘While we are disappointed that Penrose has decided not to list the CWGC Headquarters, we are heartened by his recent commitment to uphold protection of the best of modern buildings.

‘We advised listing at Grade II  because we believe this early 1970s building is architecturally striking and is a fitting monument to the good work of the Commission. The fortress-like, courtyard design and quality brickwork together form a building of special architectural interest for its date.’

Meanwhile Peter Bell of the Campaign to Save the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Building said the group proposed to lodge an appeal against the decision. He added:’The campaign feels vindicated that in the face of indifference from our local council’s officers and RIBA, together with opposition from CWGC and MOD Defence Estates who commissioned KM Heritage to provide a report arguing that it shouldn’t be listed that EH has shown the independence and strength to propose it should be listed.

‘We now have the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to contend with.’

The decision not to list the building could pave the way for its demolition and replacement with an 11-storey housing development.


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