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Shrewsbury Civic Society’s Newsletter Makes Front Page News in the Local Press

Last week’s Shrewsbury Chronicle featured two stories on its front page from the latest Civic Society Newsletter. The pieces were by editorial team members Martina Chamberlain and Simon Beedles. Former CS Chairman Simon Beedles highlighted the need to act before its too late over the Quarry pool site and Planning Committee member Martina Chamberlain outlined the latest status of the controversial Stew building.

SCS Newsletter Editor Richard Bishop said: “To make the front page with one story is good but with two at the same time demonstrates the quality and tenacity of my editorial team.”

If you missed them, here they are again:

 

Time to Act Before its too late       Simon Beedles

‘There could be more at stake than just the loss of the Quarry Swimming Pools.’
The Shrewsbury Chronicle 2nd March edition carried the headline ‘COUNCIL IS SOLE BIDDER FOR POOL’. If the bid by Shrewsbury Town Council is not successful then the article says that Shropshire Council will close the pool and build a new one at Sundorne. Shrewsbury Civic Society (SCS) supports the campaign to keep the Quarry Pools where they are so good luck to the Town Council. Let’s hope they succeed.
If the fight to keep the pools where they are works then SCS will be happy, as will all the other campaigners for this cause. But what happens if Shropshire Council wins and the pools move the Sundorne or indeed anywhere else? What happens to a site in the centre of Shrewsbury which is part of the Quarry? A site, together with the Quarry, enjoyed by the people of Shrewsbury as far back as memories extend. What will happen to the site?
The Quarry is a part of Shrewsbury visited by residents throughout their lives. It is an integral part of the town. It is hard to find anyone who does not appreciate what it offers and will offer
to the town, residents and visitors forever. It is impossible to calculate how many people have been swimming and then enjoyed a walk, game or played in the Quarry afterwards. Anyone around before 1966 will remember the Victorian Baths which offered the same opportunities as the existing Pools. The history of the site is engrained in any true Shrewsbury resident.
If the Quarry Pool closes we think the site must remain in public ownership, in a use which can be enjoyed by the public as it always has been. It must not be sold for a one off payment to help fund a budget deficit, as a short term fix and lose the public facility forever. Shropshire Council need to know that there is a strong feeling that if the Pools close the site needs to be used to continue to help people to enjoy the Quarry.
There might be calls for the site to be sold for a hotel, a car park, housing, a pub, a restaurant, a medical centre, the list goes on. It could be suitable for any of these if the County Council want to raise quick cash and lose the site forever. The County Council may have an alternative use in mind which does keep the site in public ownership and does mean it can be used as it always has been in unison with the Quarry but if not the SCS campaign to keep it for Shrewsbury is stated, clearly, here.
It’s time to act, before it is too late. If we wait until a decision on the future of the Pools is made and closure is the result it will be too late to raise the issue. The site must stay with the public as part of the Quarry. SCS does not want the Pools to close but if they do we do not want to lose the site. It must stay for Shrewsbury. It will need a use and one that can sustain itself; a use that is economic to run and which contrib-utes to the enjoyment of the Quarry; a use that people will remember in the future with affection as they do the Victorian Baths and the Quarry Pools.
It will take time to develop the ideas and the economic model but something to compliment the use of the Quarry is essential.
We could start with a pavilion designed for peo-ple to use all year round when enjoying the Quarry. The idea needs to be developed and other uses incorporated but it’s a start and it can work. More on the pavilion idea in another Newsletter. If the Pools close the site must stay in public ownership and use. Let SCS know what you think.
If you don’t tell Shropshire Council what you think, ( you can do it through SCS), the site may be lost and the money used in a scheme like the Meole Brace roundabout works. Which would you rather have?

 

The Stew and Other Planning Matters              Martina Chamberlain

 

Shrewbury Civic Society has just heard from Historic England that the society’s application to have the Stew listed has not been successful.
The Frankwell mansion house with warehouse has been considered for listing on a number of previous occasions, initiated by the civic society.
This time, we put forward that additional knowledge, gained during the appeal process, had further strengthened the case of the building’s historic and special interest. We still believe the Stew merits the protection afforded by listing, as do many others with expertise in the field.
The listing adviser, Gill Guthrie – who travelled by train from Cornwall to view the building and spent around two hours in our town – acknowledges in her report that the Stew “is a particularly interesting survival of an early eighteenth century town house in Shrewsbury”.
Also “it is one of the few surviving buildings which reflect both the residential and industrial development of Frankwell in the c18 and c19”. There is no reference to the river trade in these descriptions, an historical association she describes as “interesting” , but says does not add to the case for the building.
This requires special interest in a “national context”. But if even the local and regional interest is not adequately defined by this report? We are currently considering an objection to the outcome.
We will also be pressing locally for a redesign of Frankwell Quay and immediate environs, to create a better river frontage and improved setting of the Stew and maltings, which they deserve. Shrewsbury’s river trade
history is important, and regional history is part of our national history.
Listing is a protection system that has been in place since 1947.The test is architectural or historic special interest, with the final decision to list being taken by government (the Department for Culture, Media and Sport). However, they act on the recommendations of Historic England formerly English Heritage.
Meanwhile, we are delighted that Monkmoor Hangars, and their splendid all timber Belfast roof trusses, have been saved from demolition at appeal. The civic society had added its voice to those protesting against their destruction to make way for housing development.
The buildings date from towards the end of WW I and were used to accept, test and equip aircraft. During World War II they were used to carry out repairs or break up damaged aircraft. They are the only remaining WWI hangars in Shropshire but their distinctive early twentieth century form of construction – the roof trusses- are also cited as of significance in the appeal decision.
The inspector also deemed the retention of employment at the site on Monkmoor Trading Estate important.
The buildings are currently occupied by four businesses, which employ 32 people.
The civic society has been approached by the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust who are thinking of putting up a plaque at the site to honour the wartime history.
The proposed building of over 600 houses at Weir Hill, in the east, is engaging the civic society and a number of other important local organisations concerned about sensitive development.
The green fringes of our town, particularly those which border the river, which this does, are highly prized by townsfolk and make Shrewsbury a beautiful place to live.
An earlier report on the development of the site identified ways to reduce the impact on Shrewsbury’s skyline and retain pastoral character through a restrained approach.
There are ways of mitigating the most deleterious effects and we should be demanding them.

 

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