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No listing for Arup cigarette factory as appeal fails

Horizon factory for John Player & Sons, Nottingham
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The Twentieth Century Society has failed in its bid to overturn a decision protecting a 1970s cigarette factory designed by Arup Associates from future listing

Last year the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced it would not give heritage protection to Imperial Tobacco’s Horizon factory in Nottingham. Earlier this year it granted a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI) on the advice of Historic England (HE).

The heritage organisation deemed that alterations to the 1971 Brutalist factory in Thane Road, including the removal of its innovative heating system and the conversion of the original undercroft car park into additional office space, had ‘compromised the interest of the building’. The factory, which officially ceased production last week, originally had ‘an integrated, gas turbine, total energy installation’ – the first in Britain designed to run on North Sea gas.

The heritage body also found that, although the factory had interest due to its Brutalist industrial design and innovation by Arup, with Peter Foggo as the lead architect, it was ‘retrospective in its design for its time’ and ‘generic in its form’.

In January this year HE received a COI application from the building’s owners to ’inform future plans for the site’, which is within Nottingham Enterprise Zone. The certificate was granted last month.

However the Twentieth Century Society asked for the decision to be reviewed, based on the building’s interesting air handling systems, use of Siporex partition walls and maple floors, the security arrangements, the use of Glass Reinforced Plastic in the roof, and ‘the form of the contract which allowed rapid completion of the building project’.

Horizon factory for John Player & Sons, Nottingham

Horizon factory for John Player & Sons, Nottingham

Source: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections.

Despite the protest the decision not to list the building was upheld and the certificate of immunity allowed to stand.

The COI means the secretary of state cannot list the factory and its associated regional distribution centre for five years and prevents the local planning authority from serving a Building Preservation Notice over the same period.

The regional distribution centre, designed by Newman, Levinson and Partners, was not included in the original listing application but is included in the COI. Built in 1985, the centre was extended in 1997 and 2006.


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