Bid to demolish old brewery building

A group campaigning to preserve the heritage of the Kimberley Brewery site is up in arms at proposals to bulldoze one of the malthouse buildings.

Metis Development has just revealed its updated plan for the site, which includes a move to knock down the Grade II listed building, despite it having special protection by English Heritage.

The Save Our Brewery group (SOBS) said the building was one that gave the town its ‘unique identification’ and was given special protection for a reason.

“We don’t want to roll over and play dead. We want things to take the proper course,” said group member Andy Wickham.

“The brewery buildings are the most important historic buildings left in the town. They are very distinctive and give Kimberley a lot of character, making it stand out from other places. We want to see the site redeveloped for the benefit of future generations and to support Kimberley’s economic regeneration. That means retaining all the key historic and iconic elements of the site.”

There are two malthouse buildings on the site. The one in question dates from 1861 to 1875 and is located off Hardy Street.

The developers are arguing it would be difficult to convert due to asbestos in the roof and low ceiling heights, so are proposing to create an access road in its place to provide parking for a row of 18 new apartments.

But Mr Wickham said whether the building was knocked down or redeveloped the roof would have to be removed anyway.

“I don’t see it’s a valid reason to be honest.

“It would be difficult to convert but it has been done in many other places, in breweries all over the country. They shouldn’t just write it off because it would be a bit difficult. We are urging the developers to reconsider their position.”

Alistair Russell, from Metis Development, said: “Internally the second malting has very low ceilings, many would struggle to stand up inside. It is also in poor condition with an asbestos roof, difficult to access, and has limited relationship to the rest of the site being located out of view. It is an unlettable space and would simply remain vacant as a relic.”

Metis Devlopment attended a SOBS’ group meeting last week, where it revealed its updated plans for the site.

The firm then held an exhibition at Holy Trinity Church last Friday for the public to view the plans.

SOBS is happy with the remaining proposals.

A planning application for the first area to be developed at the site was unanimously back by councillors last week.

The development includes a craft and heritage centre, 67 houses, 76 apartments and provision for a tram line.