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Conservation group in bid to save ‘striking’ former newspaper office

A last-ditch bid to save a “striking” former newspaper office from the bulldozers has been officially launched by campaigners.

As reported by HTFP last week the former home of the Plymouth Herald and Western Morning News, pictured below, has been earmarked for demolition by owner Daily Mail and General Trust.

DMGT has applied for planning permission to knock down the award-winning “big glass ship” building, which housed the sister titles from 1993 to 2013, due to it being “unviable” and in a “poor state of repair”.

Now heritage watchdog the Twentieth Century Society has stepped in to apply for an “urgent spot listing” on English Heritage’s Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, which could give the building special protection.

Plymouth 1

Henrietta Billings, from the group, told The Herald: “This striking building is a beautifully crafted ship-shaped Plymouth landmark.

“Designed to be completely transparent, the design of the extraordinary structure draws on the city’s proud nautical history.

“It is a unique building of distinction – there is nothing else like it in Plymouth from this period or by such a prestigious architect.

“To demolish it would not only be a shocking waste of resources, it would also be a significant loss to the region’s 20th century architecture.”

The building was designed by architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, who was also responsible for Cornwall’s Eden Project and London’s Waterloo Station.

English Heritage says that “buildings built within the last 30 years have to be exceptionally important to be listed, and under threat”.

They must also be of “architectural interest: buildings which are nationally important for the interest of their architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques”.

English Heritage adds that to have historic interest they must “illustrate important aspects of the nation’s social, economic, cultural or military history”.

DMGT, which retained the ownership of the building after the papers that formerly occupied it were sold to Local World, has not yet commented on the plans to demolish the building.

Planning documents state it is “unviable” and in a “poor state of repair” – with no prospective buyers coming forward.


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  • March 3, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Hmmm. A campaign to save an empty, abandoned building- and not a squeak about the many dedicated, loyal,experienced and now redundant journalists who have been thrown on the scrapheap by this newspaper group in recent years.Get your priorities right folks!

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  • March 4, 2015 at 9:01 am

    DGMT would love to get rid of this building, not only because the land is worth more without it but because on some subconscious level it probably realises that it symbolises the mentality of those who commissioned it – remote, elitist, pretentious, profligate and prizing style over substance – and thus stands as a monument to those who helped to wreck a reputable and responsible regional press and replace it with dirt-cheap digital trivia. It should stay, at whatever cost to the shareholders, but not as a preserved and polished piece of Nineties kitsch; rather, let it rot slowly, like the careers of those it once housed and the lofty aspirations it was mean to represent.

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