Proposals pulled from planning meeting after former Nottingham police and fire headquarters gets grade II status

Plans to replace an Art Deco former police and fire HQ in Nottingham with a Glenn Howells Architects-designed student development have hit a stumbling block after Historic England listed the current building at grade II.

Nottingham City Council planning officers had recommended GHA’s part-8, part-9 and part-13-storey proposals for student-housing provider Vita Group for approval at a meeting of the authority’s planning committee last week. However the application was pulled from the agenda after the listing was confirmed.

Planning officers’ backing came despite concerns over the scheme’s impact on the neighbouring grade II-listed Guildhall and on grade II-listed caves that are underneath the site.

Historic England objected to the proposals to demolish the police and fire headquarters, designed by RM Finch and completed in 1940, and said it was “surprised” the city council had not already given them locally-listed status as undesignated heritage assets.

It added that demolishing the buildings and replacing them with taller modern structures would also negatively affect the grade II* Arkwright Building and Arboretum Conservation Area opposite the proposed development site.


Source: Google Maps

The former police and fire headquarters at Nottingham

“This block of public buildings is a key structuring element in this part of the city which would be eroded by further tall buildings, of lower architectural quality than that proposed for demolition,” the government heritage adviser said.

Campaign group the Twentieth Century Society welcomed the listing decision, saying it would protect an “important and distinguished interwar building” with a “strong street presence”.

The society said the building was remarkably well preserved, boasting original carvings of stylised police officers and fire fighters on its exterior.


Source: Zoe Clarke / C20 Society

Inside, the headquarters is “distinguished by high-quality elaborate steelwork balustrades with moulded timber handrails, carved and moulded timber surrounds to the appliance bays doors, fine timber wall panelling, decorative ironmongery and terrazzo floors,” the C20 Society added.

The group said the building now represented a “wonderful opportunity” for sensitive conversion to suit a new range of uses, such as a hotel, gallery or school.


Source: Glenn Howells Architects

Glenn Howells Architects’ proposals for new student housing on the site of Nottingham’s former police and fire HQ

An update to councillors ahead of Wednesday’s planning committee meeting said only that the student-housing application had been withdrawn from the agenda for the session following Historic England’s listing decision.

It did not suggest that the planning application had been withdrawn from the whole process.

Building Design sought a response from Glenn Howells Architects.