The’Regulatory Services Committee’ put the final nail into the coffin for the the Towers building after approving the planning application at last night’s meeting.
The ‘Save the Towers Building‘ did their best to put forward the case for saving the building in a speech on the night, stating:
Our Facebook page ‘Save the Towers Building in Hornchurch’ now has over 900 likes.
I think it’s clear from our last meeting how passionately we feel about this building. Well now there is a viable option…
Everyman Cinemas are a growing group offering a different experience of comfortable sofa seating with a fully licensed bar and an Usher Service. They are a proven success with 16 locations and are aiming to add 5 new sites per annum for the next 3 years. An Everyman Cinema could be the perfect solution for Hornchurch and this beautiful historical Art Deco Building which the majority of our town want to save. For the few who live behind it and consider it an eyesore I would like to confirm that the building was stood there when they purchased their properties but the whole car park wouldn’t necessarily be needed so potentially a row of 6 semi detached houses could face them instead if that is preferable.
I have nothing against Lidl as a Supermarket but we have 6 Supermarkets already in Hornchurch and 3 of them are within just half a mile if the Towers Building.
Lidl started a petition for support earlier this month, which they currently have 89 signatures so I started one to counteract theirs 5 days ago for Support of the Towers Building in Hornchurch and we currently have 340 signatures so this gives some indication if how the local people feel.
Crispin Lilly the CEO of the Everyman Group would love to liaise with Lidl in regards to this site, unfortunately he is currently on holiday so has arranged for a letter of interest to be submitted direct to the Council.
I hope that this option is enough to prevent the demolition of a well loved building that has managed to remain standing for in excess of 80 years even surviving World War ll
A few fast facts
The nearest Lidl is only 1.5 miles away.
Lidl acquired a site in Harold Hill back in 2014 which is still to be developed.
Finally at our last meeting the Councillors voted for Lidl to try and keep the facade but it seems they have no intention of doing so.
But in the end this was not enough and the minutes of the meeting conclude:
The report concludes that the building does not hold substantial architectural and historic importance to justify its retention, which is demonstrated through the limited weight afforded to it in planning terms by way of its lack of Listed Building status (both nationally and locally) and its subsequent listing as an Asset of Community Value. The conclusion goes on to state that in policy terms an emphasis has been placed on a ‘community right to bid’ as opposed to statutory protection of the building’s features and therefore there is no planning policy restriction on demolition or removal of the building facade.
The report contends that retaining the facade will have substantial operational and cost implications for successfully bringing forward the new Lidl food store which could potentially compromise the wider benefits to the community. The report outlines that the wider benefits would include the introduction of additional retail convenience provision for the district centre which enhances the vitality and viability of Hornchurch district centre and provides important local employment opportunities.
The report also outlines Lidl’s willingness to salvage the ‘Towers’ lettering from the facade and create a public art installation at street level. Lidl raise the point that this would help to integrate a piece of the site’s past history within the new scheme and would create a focal interest on the frontage of the new store.
The full minutes from the meeting can be found on the Havering website: