Sunday, August 01, 2004

Letter from concerned Uxonian-Uttoxeter blogspot salutes you

Has anyone else noticed the spate of vandalism lately, aimed at our local buildings? In normal circumstances these could be reported to the appropriate authorities, but what does one do when both perpetrators and authorities seem to be in collusion? Perhaps whoever designed the signs which say: 'Welcome to Uttoxeter - an historic market town' should be pointed to the nearest opticians, as any evidence of history is quickly disappearing. The contractors who carry out this demolition and so-called 'restoration work' are not to blame as they are only following orders from architects and planners, who seem to have no concept of aesthetics or the vernacular. Kayjay's old shop (on the corner of High Street and Bradley Street) is a prime example. First of all, the rear of the building was flattened and the site cleared, including a vast number of old bricks, which could have been used for rebuilding both the gable-end and the front, but this was not to be as new bricks were used. These in my opinion now stand out a mile from the original rear elevation. This is not renovation, more like bastardisation, if you'll excuse the expletive. Work is about to start on Peter Pike's old shop in the Market Place and I wonder if this is also going to end up looking like a pig's ear? According to the plans, which I presume have been passed, a complete neo-Georgian front will supplant both the existing monstrosity of the ground floor facade and the present Georgian brickwork above it. As the roof of this building (so I'm told) is medieval and there are still timber-framed sections to the rear and side alleyway, I would have thought that a complete timber-framed front restoration could be achieved (not unlike Sergeant's butcher shop) using Green Oak and either brick or lime-mortar infill panels, thus bringing it back to its former glory, even if this involved incorporating stanchions or RSJs discreetly into the structure. Two great extensions are also planned for the rear, leaving a 30-yard long alleyway, destroying any future plans for a tastefully renovated paved area surrounded by small shops. As regards the Town Hall, I am not totally against a sale, or even some private sponsorship, as long as a stipulation for retention of usage by the community is adhered to. The acoustics of the building at the moment are ideal for choral music only, but unfortunately dire for any type of amplified music due to the height of the interior. One solution could be to put in a new ceiling and upper floor making the upper area ideal for concerts, meetings, banquets and wedding receptions etc and the lower area ideal for amplified music and theatre and art-related events, especially if a new bar and cafe were to be located at the rear of the building together with a new people-friendly entrance. This has happened with civic buildings in other towns and could happen here if only Uxonians would get off their backsides and pester to death the authorities in question. F Hopwood Colne Mount Uttoxeter

No comments: