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Author Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
AR

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 25/01/2010 19:42:54
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It seems Butterley isn't the only bit of industrial heritage in the Midlands under threat of redevelopment. I've found out today that Buxton water want to build a new bottling plant on the old Cowden quarry site just off the A6, and as far as I can see that'll involve demolishing all the buildings still surviving on the daleside, which include these:


(click image to open full size image in new window)


(click image to open full size image in new window)

Quite apart from the proposed access route will have lots of traffic coming off and going onto the A6 in a steep-sided narrow valley with lots of bends in the road, the planning app as far as I've seen so far makes no mention at all of these buildings. They're not your average c.1910 concrete industrial buildings, the neo-Egyptian styling of them is most unusual and to my mind worthy of retention. I don't think many quarry buildings have survived locally from before the first world war, and certainly no others of this quality that I know of.

If any one wants to view the app and pass comment, it's online at [web link]

EDIT - I originally put this site on as Ashwood Dale quarry, but I've since found out that's what the still-active Omya site on the opposite side of the dale is called so I've changed this site to what it should be called on the DB. If a moderator could change the album titles too it'd be much appreciated!

--

I sold my soul to Satan, but he brought it back and demanded a refund....
IP: 85.210.237.248 Edited: 25/01/2010 20:03:21 by AR
ICLOK

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 25/01/2010 20:08:35
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AR, this indeed would be sad... they are quite unique as you say in architectural style... can't think i've ever seen Egyptian elsewhere. Are you planning to register a complaint?

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rikj

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 25/01/2010 21:43:37
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Are the impressive buttresses on the kilns for the chop? (I assume they are kilns, but I'm no expert). From the plans it looks as if they might be left. In aditnow terms are they part of the same quarry as I've some pics I'll upload?

Although not mine/quarry buildings, Temple Works in Leeds has a very distinctive Egyptian style.





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AR

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 08:34:12
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ICLOK - yes, I will be registering my opposition shortly, both on traffic grounds and on the loss of the buildings, I just need to go through the app a bit more and organise my thoughts into coherent arguments against what's proposed.

Rikj - yes, the kilns would go as they're in the path of the access road. I think I've seen the works in Leeds you refer to.

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Vanoord

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 10:02:59
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It may be well worth someone contacting English Heritage about this - to my eye, these are certainly worth saving.

AR - what would you like the albums renamed to?

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ICLOK

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 10:12:48
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Better get me rear end up there for some pics! Hope your successful. Anything I can do to support please drop me a PM. Smile

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AR

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 10:18:54
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EH contact is in hand and I'm hopeful that they'll appreciate the merit of them, . Given they've been abandoned for 60 years AFAIK they're not in bad condition, I don't recall seeing any spalling from the reinforcing rods corroding (in contrast to many 1960s and 1970s concrete structures!)

Please can you change the album names from Ashwood Dale to Cowdale.

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ICLOK

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 10:29:04
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I wrote to some folk in DCC who were great over Butterley and would probably be interested in this too.. do want the contacts?
Will try and alter the album names again.. but the edit album button didn't seem to be there?

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Vanoord

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 10:34:07
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I've sorted the album names Smile

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Vanoord

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 10:43:28
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I can't quite reconcile the plans with a Google Earth view - does the proposed bottling plant cover the main building?

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ChrisJC

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 11:20:45
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This might sound a heretical, but:

In my opinion, the site should be recorded, photographed, etc. to everybodies satisfaction, then given over to the future.
We are not exactly short of heritage in this country, and we are in danger of preventing the future from being able to occur.

If the site is 'preserved', it won't be authentic, but a 2010 preservation overlaid on a much older site, and it will still deteriorate.

Imagine if somebody came into your kitchen and told you it was a classic example of a 1996 B&Q Xyz with enamel door range, unique, and so you can't change it.....

Chris.
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ICLOK

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 12:29:17
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You are right... that is heresy Wink

These buildings do have a certain something I must admit, the egyptian styling is very nice and I would say fairly unique.

You can't save everything but up to a few years ago we seemed intent on pretty much trashing the character forming buildings that give Britain its look unless 20 wigged Lords had lived there for 1500 years.
Since my childhood many towns and places I remember that had beautiful warehouses, mills etc were demolished on the grounds of giving a city or town a makeover... the result plastic and concrete hell holes that just look what they are ... cheap and nasty replacements for classic buildings that could have been re-vitalised whilst maintaining the character of the area.
Some buildings such as these in fact just become an interesting part of the landscape glimpsed as you drive buy, adding a bit of mystery to the surroundings, as do the Butterley ones in Ripley, as do the engine houses in Cornwall and so on. The fact they have some architectural merit makes them nice indeed.
Modernisation is fine by me but at least make it fit the landscape, keep the landmarks we know were possible, keep the character basically!
As for modern buildings, I would personally support any modern era building of merit from not being demolished unless necessary, more so if it had character and was iconic to the area. There are some stunners in the UK but basically most of the time they are just throw away poor replacements with typical modern gash design for cheapness of build.
We have to avoid preserving a history of Britain that never existed for most of us by ensuring for every country house there is a balance of architecture relating to real peoples lives and by ensuring that we don't modernise for the sake of modernisation. Smile

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AR

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 12:46:25
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Vanoord - all the new buildings would be in the quarry behind, but the access road they want to make would take out the existing buildings and the kilns.

Chris - I'm afraid your argument doesn't hold water. You don't explain why preserving something makes it in any way less authentic than an unpreserved site, and why should the "we've got too much heritage, get rid of it" approach not be applied to medieval castles or churches as much as modern buildings? Would you suggest we flatten, say, Newark castle on the grounds it no longer serves a purpose and we could make better use of the land? Progress is not necessarily improvement....

Someone already can dictate about your kitchen if you happen to live in a property that's a listed building or scheduled monument - it all depends on what's so important about the property that got it listed/scheduled in the first place as to what you then can and can't do.

Turning back to Cowdale, what's so important about these is the unusual detailing that someone high up at BLF thought would improve their buildings. If they were plain blockhouses I wouldn't be as troubled by their potential loss, but they are something out of the ordinary and to my mind, worth keeping. I'd still be objecting to the proposal as I don't think this is a safe place to have an access road to a large factory, plus there are quite a few other sites in the Buxton that could potentially be used!

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Vanoord

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 13:44:44
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I disagree with you as well, Chris! Big Grin

In many instances, the presence of old buildings should not be a roadblock to development.

However, I believe a subjective judgement should be applied to any proposal which would see new buildings replace old buildings. By its nature, that would include making a comparison between the existing buildings and those that are proposed.

Such a judgement may take into account many factors, including the creation of employment, the need for a scheme as well as a more basic "is it worth demolishing this to build that?".

In this *particular* instance, the project is for some relatively nondescript industrial units which would however create valuable employment.

Conversely, the buildings which are on the site do have some distinct architectural merit, which - to my mind at least - justifies making steps to preserve them.

Furthermore, the demolition of the existing buildings in order to create an access road seems to me to be a very poor bit of design: there is no real reason why the new industrial unit could not be shuffled towards the edge of the quarry, enabling the access road to be moved and the existing buildings left untouched.

To me, that would be an entirely acceptable solution.

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ChrisJC

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 26/01/2010 14:54:16
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To be fair, I didn't expect a rapturous welcome Innocent

There is a continuum between levelling a site and building new, and living in a 'preserved' Victorian theme park.

In my opinion the pendulum has swung too far towards the latter, and now some odd special interest group manages to impede just about all signs of progress.

Yet we wouldn't have the Slate Tips of Ffestiniog or the Forth Rail Bridge* now if we'd all been around at the time of their appearance.

We're just afraid of the future, as the past is more comfortable.

Just my two pence worth. Devil

But good luck with any preservation efforts chaps.

Chris.

* which is actually the most hideous carbuncle I've ever seen. The new Forth road crossing is a far nicer piece of engineering.
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AR

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 27/01/2010 09:02:12
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As Vanoord has said it's all about striking a balance between keeping what's important and moving on. I certainly don't want to live in an olde worlde theme park, for starters if you're going to be authentic you need lack of sanitation, bad/no food and a lot of "interesting" diseases! On the other hand, as I've already said just because something's going to be shiny and new it doesn't necessarily follow that it'll be an improvement on what was there before - the centre of Sheffield is full of "bright new futures" from the 1960s and 1970s that most people would be glad to see the back of, and I can foresee some of the recent "prestige" development near the Winter Gardens looking just as grotty in 15 years time....

Going back to Cowdale, I've had more info from friends about this and it seems the landowner has tried several schemes for this site over the years, all of which have been rejected. Local opinion so far seems to be that if Buxton water need to expand they should do so from their present site on the Staden industrial estate, just to the south of Cowden quarry which has a good road link onto the A515. The deadline for comments on the app is 8 February, I'll be putting mine in shortly

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Moorebooks

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 27/01/2010 14:01:39
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I do agree with Chris - as Chair of the Shropshire Mines Trust I am only too well aware of the responsibility and costs of preserving our heritage. Insurance liabilities alone can cripple possibility of retaining abandoned buildings

To me the secondary use of a site that incorporates something of historical value is the best compromise - ie turn an enginge House into a home. The problem with something like this particular site it cannot be turned into a secondary use. You therefore rely on tourism It is clearly unique but is it sexy enough to attract the "Grockles" this I doubt so where is the long term income going to come from and who is going to manage the site and preseumably the present owners want something for the site?

I not suggesting for one moment we have a roll call of all IA and that we only consider keeping those things of interest to the holidaying grocks. We do however need to keep things in perspective lets face it Morwhellam Quay is now very much in doubt without a suitable income to cover running costs. The accountants now run the Asylum and it is a fact of life


Miek


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AR

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 27/01/2010 15:14:35
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I'm in broad agreement with you in general about needing a use if there's to be retention of old buildings Mike, but there are a few factors in this case that make me feel they don't necessarily need a use. Firstly, for hundred-year old concrete buildings that have been abandoned for at least half of that they're in surprisingly good condition, and seem to be quite stable, so unless the ground they're on starts looking like it's going to take over the A6 I don't think anything needs doing to them. This brings me onto the second point that they're on terraces built into a steep daleside which you'd be hard pressed to use for anything else other than living on, but whether anyone would want to build a new house opposite an active quarry is a different matter!

If the buildings were in a dangerous condition or at imminent risk of landslip then I'd agree the best thing to do would be record and demolish, but that's not the case.

Given this I think the buildings are best just left alone - the quarry itself has had its floor levelled and topsoiled and is now grazing land so it can't be described as derelict and the site is blending back into the landscape as lichens grow on the buildings.

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Moorebooks

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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 27/01/2010 15:49:42
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All perfectly reasonable until such time as it deteriorates and then what. EH may be happy to list and will provide grant contributions but not the full cost.

Ultimately any preservation needs a business plan if there is a commitment to keep it then letting nature takes its place will eventualy leads to its demise. Having seen what we have taken on at Tankervile and Snailbeach its not just a simple matter of list and leave

Mike
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Another development threat - Cowdale Quarry
Posted: 07/08/2010 18:56:15
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Just to alert anyone on the Forum who is interested in this planning application. I received notification from High Peak Borough Council yesterday that they have received a fresh planning application on 03/08/2010 for the development of Cowdale Quarry, Buxton for a new bottling plant for Buxton Water. The reference number is:- HPK/2010/0380 (the original planning application reference number is:-HPK/2009/0723). The application can be viewed on the following website:-

http://planning.highpeak.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=123157

I haven't had time yet to read through it and I am hoping that AR will let us know more details.
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