Beeston Maltings: A Guest Post from Beeston Civic Society

At Mayfest, I had a very interesting chat with Barbara Selwood, of Beeston and District Civic Society. An area I found particuarly interesting involved the recently arisen issue of the Maltings, down by The Vic. I was aware there are serious, and not entirely great, plans for the site but she explained the full story, and thought you’d be interested to. She sent me this piece, that I print in it’s entirety, originally published in the Civic Society’s newsletter. Let me know your ideas on saving it. Over to Barbara.

The big ugly, yet majestic, building of the Maltings has been derelict since 2001.  Beeston & District Civic Society managed to organise a visit to it just before it closed.

David Wilson Homes put in a planning application in 2008 as phase 2 for the development off Queen’s Road. This included demolition of the Maltings, but they withdrew it because it was “uneconomical to pursue”.  Following that both Broxtowe Borough Council and B&D Civic Society applied to English Heritage for listing in 2009, but to no avail.  (We had not realised that 6 months previous to us, BroxBC had also applied for listing).

We then decided that if the building could not be listed, the next best thing was to have it included in a Conservation Area.  A sub committee was set up from both the Civic Society and Local History Society.  We looked up the history, gathered oral information from local people, took photos and were able to present a report to Broxtowe Borough Council in September 2010.  We had an immediate reply to say it would be considered, BUT it was inappropriate to include the Maltings because, “previous analysis of the building has shown that it is not capable of economic conversion due to the low ceiling heights etc and previous applications on the site have proposed demolition. A recent suggestion for listing was declined.”

In 2010 we asked Derek Latham, of Lathams Architects, for advice and he presented us with a feasibility study early 2011.  It highlighted both the positive aspects and the difficulties with the site.  As a follow-up, in summer 2011, various representatives from Lathams, B&D Civic Society, County Heritage Team, etc visited the site. With us was Amber Patrick, UK’s expert in Maltings.  She noted the iron columns and their positions, etc.  It was when she went to Nottinghamshire Archives in the September that she saw the layout of the columns etc for the early pneumatic maltings on the archive plan of 1898 – unchanged.  With this important evidence we proceeded to re-apply to EH for listing.  Unfortunately it was refused again, and even with an appeal we had no success.

That took us to early this year. Unbeknown to us, Heineken, concerned about the safety issue due to lack of use of the building and the increasing trespassing, vandalism and metal theft and therefore the increased liability risk, decided, that after the hot dry summer last year, the building needed to be demolished.  They put in an application for prior notification of proposed demolition in January, but failed to include sufficient information, so eventually a notice was placed on the gateway of Beeston Maltings, dated22 March 2012 with the demolition due to start on 7 May 2012.

As a result of the notice, the media came into play and local residents and others became aware of the situation.  We contacted County councillors, Borough councillors, Broxtowe council officers, Notts county Heritage Team, Latham’s architects, and many of the local community contacted us.  But the result was NO.  Broxtowe council was not willing to designate the area including the Maltings, a Conservation Area at short notice.  They recognise it is an important Heritage Asset, but in the current economic climate and no developers forthcoming to convert it, there is no way forward other than demolition.

Suggestions have been made by local residents that maybe it could be an art gallery, theatre, museum or such, but without a financial benefactor such visions could not proceed.  In any case, it is designated in the Local Plan for 56 dwellings, and 56 dwellings lost from this site could well mean 56 more dwelling on Green Belt site, but weighing up Heritage Asset versus Green Belt cannot be equated!

In the absence of a “White Knight in Shining Armour” coming forth to save it, it will be demolished, BUT, (hopefully) with the help of a grant from Broxtowe council, we are proceeding with contacting a professional archaeological photographer to make a full record of the building for posterity, a hard copy of which will be deposited at Beeston Library and the actual digital copy most likely at Nottinghamshire Archives, also with the Heritage Environmental Record at County.

Barbara Selwood

Beestonia at Mayfest/ Housing stuff/ The Hidden Cabbies of Beeston.

Again, loads to cram in, and I’m hot and irritable, so if I miss anything out, send me a deservedly arsey email and I’ll bang it in my next gushing.

Saturday saw myself, Assistant Editor Tamar and Prof J attend the University of Nottingham outreach event, Mayfest, in our capacity as the editors of The Beestonian. Despite being terrified I would be sat a table with a big pile of the publication and utterly no interest, a situation known as an ‘Artie Fufkin’, loads of you were utterly lovely and came along to say hello, offer help, accept my shiny new business card and, on one occasion, tell me a wonderfully indiscreet and totally unrepeatable story about a prominent local politician who makes the occasional appearance on this blog. We had a giant table-cover which we let visitors write on what Beeston meant to them, and amongst the usual suggestions: Paul Smith, Shane Meadows, Bendigo, we also got the wonderful ‘ DOES NOT SMELL’ and the equally ace ‘NOT THE ONE IN LEEDS’. Cheers to all contributors, I’ll print the whole list soon.

Issue 9 of The Beestonian will have the theme of the Uni and it’s impact on the town, so if you’d like to add your two -bob to the debate drop me a line at mattgoold23@hotmail.com . Also, we’ll be exhibiting again at the very exciting Not the Camden Market at Barton House on June 3rd, moe info here . Come along. I’ll drink a lot less coffee this time and try and speak coherently.

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Housing

It’s another HUGE issue in Broxtowe and even attracted East Midlands Today to Foster Avenue. It’s a typically complex issue, but can be summarised thus: we have to find a set amount of land to build new houses on within the Borough, else have central government remove the power of  planning allocation which would give developers carte blanche to stick houses all over the place. Followers of Nick Palmers/ Anna Soubry’s newsletters will see how this has become a key battleground, with Soubz playing the SAVE THE GREENBELT eco-warrier role pretty unconvincingly. She has already been forced into one retraction, and will have to make another one soon after urging people to write to the council on the wrong part of the proposal. Oops.

Her strong refusal to allow any building on greenbelt may seem admirable to some, though as this piece points out, we do need more property in Broxtowe (allocation is important though: think how many people could have been housed in the huge swathe of land Tesco occupies over the area).

And say she does prevaricate and prevaricate until local planning is disregarded and in sweep the developers to throw concrete anywhere they fancy, who gains? Well, builders for one. Especially ones that like to build low-quality, opportunistic poor value boxes. Anna Soubry’s long-term partner and campaign manager is Neil Davidson. Neil Davidson is a big cheese at Persimmons builders, who have a whole section on their Wikipedia page titled ‘criticisms’ and lists their appearances on BBC Watchdog, ITV New Homes from Hell and other examples for building crappy houses. Surely just a coincidence.

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Still, as the estimable Javid has pointed out, at least she’s not adding to the crisis by swelling the population by moving here>

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I bumped into a old friend of mine recently, Pete the taxi-driver. A fantastically interesting and chatty chap, his one -man business as one of Beeston’s independent cabbies is having a bit of trouble. Why? Nothing to do with the recession, but simple some bad planning on the council. Since the bus station has been cordoned off, the cab rank has been moved to Foster Road, attracting virtually no foot traffic, the bread and butter for the jobbing cabbie. This might not be so  bad if people knew about it so could stroll up if they needed to, but there’s been very little, if any, communication from the council about this. The drivers are thus stranded out the way and business is terrible. When we meet, Pete explains he took a single fare the other day. It’s a desperate situation and he looks scared as hell. As we talk, a cab from a large local firm pulls up outside The Last Post and picks up booked custom from the pub ‘That keeps happening’ sighs Pete. ‘They have no idea we’re taxis’.

So if you are a councillor, do the decent thing and get the word out that the rank has moved. And if you need a ride, you could do a lot worse than Pete. He is a lovely, funny chauffeur and even tolerated me talking about how much I loved Hellenic culture for the first year of knowing him after I mis-heard his name as ‘Pete the Greek’, rather than ‘Pete the Sikh’. Stick his number in your phone: 07836641927 . I’d ask you to tell him I sent you, but he might tell you the story about when he drove me back from the pub with me complaining he was going the wrong way only for him to point out that I maybe too drunk to remember, but he could recall I’d moved house a fortnight before and my directions were taking me to my erstwhile abode. And I’d like to keep that event to myself.

 

MayFest! Octo-Beestonia! Sheerly Temple; Tram-a-ram-a-ding-dong.

Hello! You may remember me from about a decade ago when I last posted something on here, I’m Matt, Lord of Beestonia, I’ll explain my absence, but first a massive reminder about

It’s a HUGE event at The Uni, open to all. It’ll be showcasing the best of the Uni to the public. It’s totally free, full of incredible stuff showing what goes on in those sheds on that park to east of us do, and if you take a child it’s virtually guaranteed that they’ll become a world-renowned academic with a brace of Noble Prizes and STILL retain a Beeston accent. Visit. It’s like a brainy Alton Towers without queues. And not shit.

More info: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mayfest/documents/mayfestprogramme2012-web.pdf

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It’s been a hectic few weeks, thus my lack of getting round to post anything up here. I hope you didn’t mind: after all, I did leave up on the front page a very well written piece by a proper journo, rather than the usual guff written by a bloke who was kicked out of journalism school 21 years ago for bankrupting the college cafe (it’s a long story, saved for future autobiography).

Most effort has been thrown into turning The Beestonian from its four-page format into an eight-page octogreat. I’d just got comfy with filling two sheets of A3  a month, so, in the terrible nature of one who fears comfy for no discernible reason other than a diagnosis of ADHD, doubled the task and moved up to eight pages. This took some metal. Some steel. Some staples.

However, we did it. We being myself, the utterly resourceful, lyrical and determined wonder that is my new assistant ed, Tamar. I’d bang on for a paragraph about how great she is, but she called me a ‘bell-end’ on Facebook earlier so must serve imposed penance. Prof J, the inspiration behind the whole thing (he suggested making this blog flesh over a meal of brown ale and squeaky cheese) has also proved invaluable, even to the extent of making regular trips to Australia to meet with a town magazine that we’re going to be twinning with (he even went to got engaged to one of the locals there, in some sort of Medieval patronage thing).  And our writers: Jimmy Wiggins, Nora, James Brown et al…I always knew Beeston was stuffed with talent, but I never realise they’d one day be letting me send them passive aggressive emails about deadlines.

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Right. That’s the stuff I have to write on-line every issue in lieu of actually paying them for their dedication.

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But OH MY GOD WHAT AN ISSUE. If you’ve already seen it you’ll understand my excessive  hyperbole in the preceding sentence: simply, I’ve never been prouder of anything I’ve ever published or been published in as Issue 8 of The Beestonian. I decided to theme it, and chose ‘Pubs’ as the subject. I’m so happy I did. How else can you claim sloping round Beeston’s finest boozers with Beeston’s finest booze-hounds is work and not feel an utter liar? By Inn-crawling in the name of journalism, that’s how. The resultant centre-spread is still a work of art that will resonate down the ages and provide a handy template for your children  to cut down to one kidney within weeks of impersonation.

Not picked one up? Well, first accept my mortified face: how could you not visit our distributors, The Bean, Belle and Jerome, The Crown Inn, The Greyhound, Beeston library, Metro, Cafe Nero, The Treasury (now double in size, and an incredibly beautiful interior-have a gander), The Flying Goose, various taxi offices and, of course, The Guitar Spot, home of Beeston’s own Stratocaster and Son, Derek and Jimmy Wiggins  : more later.Well, you really should go visit the joints we stick our esteemed organ in, but if you really can’t, then canter over to this ‘ere website and voilà, it’s there in all it’s glory. As are all our back issues. For free. Do we love you? Possibly too much.

To summarise: Issue 8 is of such wonder I did spend several wistful days considering becoming bethrothed to it; yet knew in my heart-of-hearts that I’d only have a lovely honeymoon period before legging it off with Issue 9 mere moments after it drops off the presses.

Go find one. Tell wherever you pick it up we sent you. One day it’ll be worth something. Y’know, after the future collapse of civilisation triggered by Osbourne’s austerity project that will throw us back to Neolithic times and anything that helps light a fire to cook stray dog gruel over is welcome. See? Might be busy, but still churning the considered, analytical political commentary.

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I was lucky enough to eschew my normal post-work  habit of Simpsons/ cooking while Lady Beestonia watches Hollyoaks this Tuesday with a sojourn down Rylands Hindu Temple for a pooja , a Hindu ceremony that is, even to a heathen like myself, a brilliantly interesting spectacle. With the chanting, the bells, the hypnotic background music, a  riot of colour, priests pouring coconut water and mango juice over beautifully carved gods and incense burning, burnishing all in a sandalwood brilliance…it’s a sensory joyride. You’re welcome, as well. In fact, on the 26th of May, the final opening ceremony will take place. I urge you to come along. Your mind will be at first opened, then blown.

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A great tour by one of the brainchild of the Temple, the exquisitely sari-ed Sharmini. She points out the various Deities, and their significance. Ganesha is by the door: he forces all through, therefore is the perfect bouncer: you’re straight in, no messing. Further down is a representation of Shiva, or Lingum, which is the representation of masculinity. How does the temple represent this? Well, Sharmini sees that I’m, errr, equally shocked and impressed by the huge sculpted ebony protrusion towering flagrantly in front of me and says ‘We Hindus don’t do anything by half’.

There’s free, utterly scrumptious vegetarian food and sweets to savour afterwards. If that hasn’t convinced you enough, it’s possibly time to try Prozac.

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I will be writing less than usual here in future; as well as running the mag I’ve also signed up to run the marketing/promotion for this years Oxjam; am working on getting a new website together, am moving house in a month AND by some tweak of fortune have been employed on a full-time, permanent role in a job I actually really enjoy; I get to talk all day. Ideal.

This is an open space, remember. Want to fill it? Send me submissions to mattgoold23@hotmail.com , everything and anything considered.

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In the fine tradition of variety entertainment, I shall leave you with a song. The aforementioned Jimmy Wiggins, of one of Beeston’s finest independent stores, The Guitar Spot, recently stuck on his blog  a Blues lyric which needs a wider audience. I’m still a committed neutral on the tram, on the grounds that once one expresses an opinion it’s like running into no man’s land in 1917, shouting ‘British banger-fans! Teutonic sausage-grubbers! Do your wurst!’. So over to Derek, and a lyric that I challenge you to stick a riff behind, vocalise, and stick on YouTube:

TRAMLINE BLUES by Derek Wigginton
Spoken or sung as blues, country, rock or rap
( Derek & son James own The Guitar Spot on Chilwell Road )
HAVE YOU HEARD ‘BOUT LINE 2
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY’RE GONNA DO
BRINGIN’ THE TRAM ‘LONG CHILWELL ROAD
BUT WHO THE HELL WANTS IT, WE AIN’T BEEN TOLD
BUSINESS BAD NO PEOPLE ABOUT
AIN’T NO USE TO SCREAM AND SHOUT
‘COS JOCO AND HIS GANG JUST WANT THE KUDOS
THEY DON’T SUFFER NO DOWNTURN AND TRADE LOSS
THEY SAY THIS ALL GONNA BE GOOD FOR THE CITY
BUT FOR CHILWELL ROAD THEY DON’T SHOW NO PITY
WE GOT TO SUFFER FOR THREE LONG YEARS
AT THE END OF IT ALL THERE’LL BE MANY TEARS
SO WE ALL GOTTA TRY AND SURVIVE
WE GOTTA KEEP THIS ROAD ALIVE
THOSE CATS DON’T CARE BACK IN NOTTINGHAM
ALL THEY SAY IS TRAM, TRAM, TRAM
SO PEOPLE OF BEESTON WE NEED YOU TO TRY
TO COME ON DOWN AND JUST SEE WHY
WE’RE ALL INDEPENDENTS ON CHILWELL ROAD
AND WE NEED YOUR HELP WITH OUR HEAVY LOAD
PLEASE COME DOWN AND LOOK AROUND
WE’RE THE INTERESTING END OF BEESTON TOWN
NO CHARITY SHOPS, JUST TRADERS TRYIN’

SO COME ON CATS, JUST KEEP ON BUYING’