Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Gas Office, St Mary's Road, Market Harborough


From the Harborough Mail of 16 May 2007:
Furious residents have expressed their disgust after a planning 'loophole' allowed a developer to demolish a Harborough building steeped in the town's history. 
Without warning, the 108-year-old former Urban District Council’s gas office on the corner of Clarence Street and St Mary’s Road was razed to the ground by Hallway Estates on Wednesday last week. 
The firm, which owns the site, was able to flatten the building because it does not have listed status and is just outside the town’s conservation area. 
Yet just two years ago former owners of the site had to battle to get planning permission for their proposal to sympathetically restore the building and convert it into flats. 
Their project never happened but councillors insisted at the time on imposing planning conditions that parts of the building be retained to preserve Harborough’s heritage. 
The planning permission is still in force for the site but because the new owners are not interested in developing it in the same way, there was nothing to stop them from simply demolishing the building.
What the report did not say was that the old gas office was the work of the town's most significant architectural partnership Coales & Johnson. You can read about them in an article by Geoff Brandwood.

I find that I took a picture of the decoration on the front of the building back in 1984. You can see a photo of the whole thing on the Market Harborough Historical Society Facebook page.

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