Campaigners want to protect heritage

Hardy and Hansons Kimberley
Hardy and Hansons Kimberley

I know I’m not the only one to have been exasperated by the letter in the Advertiser two weeks ago from Regeneration Backer (‘Time for sacrifices’).

Not only do they not have the courage to give their name, they’ve also misrepresented the Save Our Brewery (SOBS) group’s position - perhaps deliberately?

Through SOBS, many local people have spent countless hours over the last seven years pressing the borough council and successive owners to regenerate the brewery site and prevent any further deterioration of it’s historic buildings. We’ve also helped with a heritage assessment of the site, commissioned by Notts County Council and carried out by a national expert on the subject. Meanwhile, what has Regeneration Backer been doing about it? Nothing, I suspect.

A successful approach to regeneration here will not include knocking down key parts of the Grade II listed maltings complex, carrying out the easiest and most profitable parts of the development, and letting the rest of the site continue to rot. The brewery site is by far the most important remaining part of Kimberley’s built heritage, with the potential for a first-class redevelopment that conserves and re-uses the best of what remains, and adds new-build in sympathy with the old. There are many fine examples of where this has been done with other breweries, such as at Basford and Newark. In fact, we know of about 10 examples of listed malthouse conversions around the country where the buildings are similar to those in Kimberley - with low floor-to-ceiling heights and/or broad floors with limited light. All have been converted to residential use or have been approved for conversion. It is perfectly possible.
Regeneration Backer would apparently prefer to agree to the first proposal put forward by the developers, rather than trying to negotiate for the best that can be achieved. If he wants to canvas local opinion, by all means let him do so, but make sure that people have a full picture of the situation, before putting it to any vote. As he must know, any decision on the site’s redevelopment lies not with SOBS but with English Heritage and Broxtowe Borough Council.

Andy Wickham

Kimberley