English Heritage (EH) has recommended Grimshaw’s award-winning former Western Morning News HQ in Plymouth for a grade II*-listed status
The recommendation was pushed in front of ministers earlier this month as the threat of demolition loomed over the 1993 landmark. But due to the forthcoming general election on 7 May a decision is not now expected for at least six weeks.
Even so a Freedom of Information request lodged by the Twentieth Century Society has revealed EH’s advice which is usually kept confidential.
The heritage body has said the ‘powerful and striking’ HQ, nicknamed the Ship, is a ‘a particularly important work of commercial and industrial architecture’
EH said the building demonstrates ‘a careful and highly effective integration of office and production areas to create a design which brings employees together in a shared space which works for both.’
If granted the listing could halt the demolition of the building which is deemed no longer viable by its current owner, The Daily Mail.
The newspaper has already submitted an application to Plymouth City Council to flatten the iconic building, and the authority has said it can only step in to stop the demolition if the building is given listed status.
The Grimshaw-designed Ship building, which completed just 22 years ago, has stood empty since local title Western News moved out in July 2013.
Henrietta Billings, senior conservation advisor at the Twentieth Century Society, said: ‘We are delighted that English Heritage is recommending this fantastic Plymouth landmark for listing at Grade II*. The final decision on listing will be made by the Secretary of State after the election – in the meantime the ‘Ship’ is vulnerable and all eyes will be on the building owners.’
Nicholas Grimshaw, the founder of Grimshaw, said: ‘We’re delighted that EH is recommending the [building] becomes a Grade II* listed structure.
‘We’ve recently had several enquiries about possible different uses, and we would be very happy to help advise anyone considering a new purpose for the building.’
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