Update: This story is still ongoing. At some point the Application will go to Planning Committee for a decision. (Controversial applications are normally decided in public by the Planning Committee, which is 15 councillors from a cross section of parties, and usually after a short speeches from both applicants and the opposition.) No date has yet been set for Committee. (The provisional 13 September was cancelled.) This is an unusually long-running application. Apparently the architects are still deliberating, but leaving The Planning Department, Acocks Green Baptists, Stockfield Community Association, and the rest of us, all in the dark. Some aspects of this story are starting to look increasingly odd. There will be another full new post shortly. (This update written 19 October 2012.)
Stop Press 1 – look out for our new ‘Save Glynn Edwards Hall’ petition – now at Jeffries Hardware, in the village, more venues coming.
Stop Press 2 – See our illustrated report on our visit to all the Acocks Green Baptist buildings This was a very interesting visit, suggesting, perhaps, most importantly that (1) The very attractive, stat listed, Arthur Moore Hall needs some urgent maintenance work because of damp problems. Help is needed to find money for this but (2) The problems involved are, thankfully, relatively minor. Repair to guttering, a chimney and a broken window plus central heating installed upstairs would all make a welcome difference.
With over 200 comments now logged with Planning the Glynn Edwards Hall is becoming not only the most hotly contested plan in Acocks Green for decades, but, currently, the biggest Planning Application show in town.
Apart from the desire of most to conserve as opposed to demolish, this charming local building which belongs in a set with the statutorily listed buildings on the site, one particular point has been a bone of contention. Every time members of the community have mentioned that the Glynn Edwards Hall is locally listed Grade A the developers have dismissed this, using the argument that there is no sign of the Grade A listing on the Birmingham City Council Local List website. The answer that we had been advised by the Conservation Department that the building was locally listed Grade A, and, even, the point that the BCC official Conservation Officer’s Report makes this point were repeatedly shrugged away on the basis that the on-line list does not mention it.
We can now clear this mystery up, once and for all. The Glynn Edwards IS, beyond a shadow of a doubt, locally listed Grade A. The public domain document, from 1991, supplied to us by BCC Conservation, which is shown in a screen shot above, and available for downloading in its entirety, at the end of this post, proves this.
The story is as follows: the Baptist Church (1913) and The Glynn Edwards Hall (1924) were locally listedtogether in 1991, as a single batch local listing, at Grade A – Item 12 out of a number of items for Acocks Green (Item 11 was Acocks Green Police Station, Grade B) If you look carefully, at the screen shot of the typed document above, you will see that, in fact the second paragraph here is describing the Glynn Edwards Hall, which is the corner building on the plot. Indeed it even gets slightly more attention in this listing description than does the Church itself Later on the church and the Arthur Moore Hall (also listed in this batch) were put forward for, and achieved, Statutory Listing Grade II. It would seem that, technically, though they don’t need it, they are still, also, locally listed at Grade A. This entire listing, including for the Glynn Edwards Hall, is as valid as the day it was made. The reason why the Glynn Edwards did not appear on the Local List on the internet was because its old typed listing document, above, was not on computer and was, wrongly, filed only as part of the data for the Statutory Listing of the other two buildings. Conservation had another list they used, saying the building was on their A list, but the building was missed off the on-line list because the listing document was, in effect, lost.
Incidentally, both buildings are by the architect F. B. Andrews, and both are described as having Arts and Crafts style features.
Why does this matter? A listing matters when a building goes before Planning Committee. A Grade A local listing says, in effect: ‘this building matters a lot’. It sends a strong signal to Planning Committees to think very carefully indeed before authorising a plan which would result in demolition.
However, this is not the end of the story. In recognition of this serious admission, and the controversy it has caused, BCC Conservation have now withdrawn the entire local list from the BCC website because it is incomplete and misleading. We are advised that the list will remain withdrawn until it is properly amended to show the listing of the Glynn Edwards Hall, Acocks Green. Instead, on this page, note the message:
A copy of the Locally Listed Buildings in Birmingham is available on request and will be online shortly.
Here is the famous missing document, in its entirety. Again, note this is a batch listing document, for various buildings in Birmingham. Look for item 12. on page 5
The Plan Application will probably now go to Committee on 30 August. view the Plan and add comments here If you would like to view missing documents in the on-line documents list on these BCC Plan pages see our list of downloadable docs in our earlier posting here