Derby City Council

Does the recent UNESCO Heritage advice signal the end of ‘The Landmark’ building project?

The Landmark building project was approved by the Planning Committee back in February 2019. Despite being initially rejected by the Committee, and considered by many residents to be unsightly ( albeit supported by Marketing Derby), it was passed subject to consultations with:

  • Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)

The conclusion of Heritage England and  the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Partnership was that the plan should not proceed.

The Secretary of State considered it not to be a national issue.

ICOMOS were contacted by Derby City Council through United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in February; their response was issued on 29 August 2019 ( published locally on 7 October 2019)

ICOMOS issued a detailed 10 page technical review with the following conclusions:

  1. The concerns of Heritage England and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Partnership regarding both the development and the Integrated Impact Assessment conducted are valid and grounds exist for these to be addressed;
  2. Based on an assessment of the information available to ICOMOS, the proposed development would have a significantly negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage property and should not proceed;
  3. Should the proponent or the City of Derby wish to further pursue the development of the project, a full Heritage Impact Assessment – following the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessment for Cultural World Heritage Properties – needs to be undertaken by a suitable qualified professional and include a rigorous Visual Impact Assessment, before any further decisions can be made or the project further pursued.
  4. ICOMOS further advises that should a new Heritage Impact Assessment, including Visual Impact Assessment, be commissioned, the State Party should be invited to submit such documentation to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, before adopting its conclusions.

Comment

In previous Derby News articles, the financial, and corporate background of the developer was examined which questioned the funding and their capability for delivering the project.

Derby’s new Landmark building: Questions to be asked about the Property Developer, Godwin “group” and the subsequent article Godwin’s ‘Landmark’ tower block plan – sliding to the right.

Having borrowed a lot of money, at high interest rates (~ 10% pa), Godwin’s need to move forwards on this very quickly to secure their return and pay their lenders.

The last planning application extension ( the 6th one) ended on 27 September 2019. There is no evidence of a 7th extension.

The decision is now back to Derby City Council as to whether they take the advice of ICOMOS, and inject further delay into the project by calling for a full Heritage Impact Assessment.  Or will the focus be on supporting the developer’s plans and financial standing, given that the same organisation, Godwin’s, are also developing student accommodation on Agard Street – another project which received many public objections prior to planning permission being granted!

Or, perhaps the developer will decide that this is no longer a financially viable project?

 

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