Author Topic: Mechanics - new plans submitted  (Read 5197 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

mjad

  • Guest
Mechanics - new plans submitted
« on: July 21, 2006, 11:06:36 AM »
It's a five-star dream for Mechanics

THE Mechanics' Institute is to be bolted on to an eight-storey hotel under £20m plans to be unveiled by the building's owner.

Developer Mathew Singh is to apply for permission to build a 104-room hotel tower attached to the landmark building in Faringdon Road.

The Mechanics' building itself will include a small cinema and stage, as well as conference facilities and bars and restaurants.

Mr Singh said he was confident these latest plans, which were a smaller development than before, would receive the thumbs up from English Heritage.

Mr Singh, who bought the listed building in 2003, will unveil the full plans today.

He said he already has a major European company keen to move in to the hotel building, which would also include a gymnasium which would be open to the public.

Mr Singh said the plan offered the chance for community, arts and culture groups to take up space in the revamped institute building.

He said a planning application would be submitted to the council by the end of the month.

If that went smoothly, builders could start work by Christmas, he said.

Mr Singh said he wanted community, arts and culture groups to be at home in the complex.

"The community will be very much involved, very much at the front of it," he said.

Mr Singh said he had compromised on the design, making it smaller. Now it was time for the council and English Heritage to meet him halfway.

"Last time they objected to the size and bulk of it," he said. "This is smaller."

The middle fly tower, built in the 1930s, would come down as part of the plan.

"It's an eyesore," Mr Singh said.

He said 10 townhouses in the original plan had been abandoned.

South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove has cautiously welcomed the plans to save the Mechanics' Institute.

"This is much more sympathetic to the building than former plans," she said.

"There is a reduction in size and bulk in the proposed new development.

"I am pleased Mathew is taking forward the commitment to community use for the institute building itself.

"I have always said Mathew's commitment to the building is impressive and sincere.

"However, it's very important the community is behind any proposed plan."

The plan follows the English Heritage Register of Buildings at Risk report published last week that rated the Mechanics' Institute among the most vulnerable in the country.

The institute was given an "A" rating of being at "immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric" without a plan for its future.

"The register of buildings at risk gives the parties involved a renewed impetus to find a solution and save the building," Mrs Snelgrove said.

"We need to regain status for this iconic building that was a key part of Swindon's social and industrial heritage.

"I want to see a solution for the many residents who have been keen to see the building saved for the future."


Important building

Described by many as the town's most important and significant site, the Mechanics' foundation stone was laid in 1854.

The institute was set up a decade before with the object of "disseminating useful knowledge and encouraging rational amusement amongst all classes of people employed by the Great Western Railway".

The Mechanics' Institute was officially opened on May 1, 1855, and soon became a central part of the railway community.

Known to generations of Swindonians simply as The Mechanics', the building featured a theatre/assembly hall, a coffee room, council room, dining room, washing baths, as well as the large library with a reading room.

Since the railway works closed in 1986 the massive building, which was extended over the years, has fallen into disrepair.

In February 1999 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport awarded the building a listing of Grade II* thanks to the hard work of the New Mechanics' Institution.

This grading put the building in the top six per cent of all listed buildings and in 2003 it was bought by businessman Mathew Singh.

10:24am today

By Daniel Knowles




mjad

  • Guest
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2006, 11:11:42 AM »
Saw the plans today for the 1st time

it's a 3 or 4*hotel that's planned
the glass tower has gone!  :)
there will be a replacement of the fly-tower, but it's brick & smaller than the previous plans

went inside the building for the 1st time in 3 1/2 years, still holding up very well.  1 of the party with me had never been in before & was amazed at what good state the structure was in - but it still needs to be done up inside.

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2006, 09:07:14 PM »
Mjad - if you guys can get this done, you will really have justified the votes people gave you ... Fingers crossed for a solution after all these years! (very appropriate if it can be announced on the 20th anniversary of its closure?)
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Ringer

  • Guest
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2011, 12:24:33 PM »
Was anyone aware of these plans?http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9051811.Businessman_offers_blueprint_for_Mechanics__revamp/

Drone

  • Guest
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2011, 05:23:50 PM »
Was anyone aware of these plans?http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9051811.Businessman_offers_blueprint_for_Mechanics__revamp/


Quite good ideas, actually, but no doubt the NMIPT would object to any financially sustainable future for the building.

Online Terry Reynolds

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2743
  • Gender: Male
  • `13 years of lies lies, sleaze porn 10p fiascos, m
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2011, 09:33:29 PM »
Since when as Ms Snelgrove, been our Swindon South MP?, as she was the PA to Prudence, how come she hasnt done a runner like he has and hid from view?. tell her they are looking for a counter clerk in the PO at the X Roads........

Offline the gorgon

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1412
  • Hello !
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2011, 11:20:57 PM »
Since when as Ms Snelgrove, been our Swindon South MP?, as she was the PA to Prudence, how come she hasnt done a runner like he has and hid from view?. tell her they are looking for a counter clerk in the PO at the X Roads........

???
eh?

You are aware this first post in this thread was waaaay back in 2006, when Ms Snelgrove was indeed MP for Swindon South.

Offline The Listener

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 17
  • Hello !
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2011, 07:18:22 AM »
We are 4 years away from the thirtieth anniversary of the abandonment of the institute building. Many of those years were of great prosperity when the cost of refurbishing and revitalizing this part of Swindon's history would have been relatively low and would have maintained the original construction. Here in 2011, during one of the worst recessions this country has seen for nearly 100 years, I'm astonished to hear and read that people are fighting over the scraps of the original building. 30 years of abandonment has created havoc with the structure of this establishment. I'm reliable told that in addition to the £1,000,000 already spent on stopping further deterioration, an additional £15,000,000 - £25,000,000 are needed to restore it. Having spent this much money we would have approximately 10 – 15% of the original institute! The time to have saved it is well passed and you now have to ask yourself,

“Do I really want to spend that much money to build Disney style copy of the original?”

My old granny would have said, “ Your all too slow to catch a cold.”

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Mechanics - new plans submitted
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2011, 05:48:51 PM »

went inside the building for the 1st time in 3 1/2 years, still holding up very well.  1 of the party with me had never been in before & was amazed at what good state the structure was in - but it still needs to be done up inside.

Funny that.

Looks like the inspection that decided the roof was collapsing was done from outside, at street level.

Is there any truth to the rumour that the roof beams [which were supposed to be kept as patterns for new ones] were destroyed to hide the fact that there was nothing wrong with them?