Save the Glynn Edwards Hall (Yes – Again …)

June 23rd, 2012

The Glynne Edwards Hall – 1924 Arts & Crafts Style Building Below & Proposed Brutalist Inspired Replacement Above

We are in the unhappy position of having to announce that a plan has been submitted to Birmingham City Council to demolish the much loved 1924, Grade A Listed, Arts & Crafts style Glynne Edwards Hall. This is one of the two Baptists Church Halls in Acocks Green: the one which fronts onto Yardley Road and sides on to Alexander Road. Details of that plan are here: Submitted Plan to Demolish The Glynne Edwards Hall and to Remove Pews from Acocks Green Baptist Church

There are many, many documents within this application (See ‘View Related Documents’ at the end of this page.) This take a lot of working through, but we suggest that you study the first document, which is a picture of the suggested new building. A number of documents are missing. The Council are working on this, but, meantime, we supply some of them on the links below, here:

Documents Currently Missing from BCC Planning Website

Design and Access Statement – Planning Ap. June 2012

‘Appendix H – Statement of Justification Demolition of the Glynne Edwards Hall – Planning Ap. June 2012

Supporting Statement Appendix L – Record of Pre-Application – Planng Ap. June 2012

Supporting Statement Appendix P – Diagrammatic Plans of Concept Options – Planing Ap. June 2012

Supporting Statement Appendix S – Letters of Support – Planning Ap. June 2012

Our Points – in a Nutshell

Having studied the documents our comments would be:

  • We remain well aware that the key rationale for demolishing the building is that the new building, with a number of smaller rooms could be let out to various good causes, in order to raise revenue for the renovation of the statutorily listed Arthur Moore Hall and the Church itself. On a purely practical business level this seems hard to justify when the nearby Acocks Green Methodist Church has failed, after eighteen months of trying, and regular meetings, to find tenants for its already fully renovated ‘Institute’ building (The former Neighbourhood Office, now transplanted to Acocks Green Library) which is in a more accessible position, closer to Acocks Green Centre. It is unclear to whom the proposers of this plan believe they could rent the building. Many laudable schemes are mentioned, but no firm offers are tenancy are referred to, although one potential applicant (See Appendix S, letters) ruefully refers to the need to find funding. In this, present, economic climate, the hope that funding will suddenly materialise for these schemes seems optimistic, to say the least.
  • The Glynn Edwards is an attractive, and distinctive building in its own right, with Arts and Crafts style black and white timber, prominent roofing and gable ends and some intricate brickwork and bell tower and chimney designs. It fits well into the street scene and local people find it pleasing and very welcoming.
  • Apart from the fact that, as a matter of principle we do not believe that locally listed buildings should be destroyed in order to aid the renovation of statutorily listed ones in this particular case the street scene is of particular importance. The present Glynn Edwards is crucial in its position both between two early twentieth century Stat listed buildings and opposite two striking locally listed ones (Acocks Green Police Station and the former Acocks Green Fire Station.) To impose a starkly modern, even brutalist, design in amongst this group is aesthetically very insensitive and the Conservation department have already observed upon this point. (See their earlier response in Appendix L.)
  • The Glynne Edwards has, for many years, done sterling service as a local village hall this side of Acocks Green. In addition to being the meeting place for organisations like Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum, it is home to a plethora of Scout groups, Mother and Toddler Groups, Play Groups, Weight Watchers and other local organisations. The new design does not contain a hall of any size and it is unclear when (if ever) there would be sufficient money raised to provide a replacement hall in the Arthur Moore building.
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More Pics

The interior of the Glynn Edwards Hall during an meeting of Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum on 19 June 2012. The Planning Application claims that the present hall is also in need of replacement because it is ‘unwelcoming’. There was much concern expressed about the plan during this meeting and many people took away a model letter of objection.

Glynn Edwards Verite This is an old video (very short) which we made of the hall in context with its surroundings. Nothing has changed since then. The context is part of the concern.

The Front of the Glynn Edwards, from Yardley Road

Interesting Arts & Crafts Brickwork Detail – double click for clear view

Bell Tower Detail (Bell tower Harmonises with the Tower on the Arthur Moore Hall.)

This collage shows how the planned building against the context of the Arthur Moore Hall on the left, the Baptist Church on the right and the existing Glynn Edwards again, below.

Objecting to the Plan

What to do if you are unhappy about this new design as well? You still have time to object. (Advice from Justin Howell, Planning Officer for the application – this will go to Committee, probably on August 30, and it is therefore safe to ignore the stated 12 July date – Planning normally takes comments almost up until the Committee date.) You can object online to the Glynn Edwards Hall plan Alternatively you can our standard letter opposing demolition of the Glynn Edwards Hall Plan This letter can be amended as wished, and posted to the address on the letter. (It may also be used as a template for online comment.)

The Baptist Church, Acocks Green – also in Planning Application

If you are objecting to this plan then you might like to spare a thought for the Baptist Church itself, as well. It seems that some of the money supposedly to be made from this scheme would go to removing the original 1913 pews from this statutorily listed church. You may wish to give this point your consideration, as well.

History Spot – Who was Glynn Edwards?

Glynn Edwards was actually J. Glynn Edwards (1876-1945) He was Minister of Acocks Green Baptists 1920-1932. One old journal (The Organ, 1941, presumably for church organists) describes a Baptist minister in Norwich a little earlier, also called J. Glynn Edwards, ie almost certainly the same person, as ‘a most loveable personality’. Another source describes Mr Edwards as ‘a pleasing correspondent’ * It also looks as though he was involved in some reforms in the Baptist movement.** It seems Mr Edwards initiated the building of the Hall, in 1924.

*Frank Dunham, The Long Carry: The Journal of Stretcher Bearer Frank Dunham (1970, p. 231)

** ‘Through the Windows of a Baptist Meeting House’ Baptist Quarterly, 36 (6). p. 304.

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