In 2005 the Clariant factory (once part of Hodgsons tannery) and the buildings of the Museum of Army Transport in Flemingate were demolished. This left a 16acre site available for development which was close to Beverley Minster and within walking distance of the historic Town centre. After much debate the East Riding of Yorkshire Council decided that the use of the land would be a mixed approach: 130 energy efficient affordable homes, a substantial retail section with cafes and restaurants, a new campus for the East riding College, an180 bed hotel, a six screen cinema and a 500 space multi storey car park. Wykeland Ltd of Hull were the preferred developers. Beverley Civic Society together with Beverley Renaissance Partnership worked closely with the developers on the proposals from day one. The work of construction has now been completed and the doors of the East Riding College campus were unlocked in September 2015, and the remainder of the site opened in November 2015.
The central pedestrian street leads directly from the housing, a useful device, through the retail area with its strong view of the magnificent medieval minster acting as a focus. The materials used for building are mostly the same as materials used in the old town – brick. Variation in roof levels, window openings and street facades make for interest though the hanging shop signs are of uniform design. However, the design of the car park with its harsh building materials, though partly hidden, leaves much to be desired, and the garish sloping roundabout at the entrance is an alien feature at an important entry to Beverley. The new ‘Premier Inn’ will be a useful addition for visitors to the town, and the design of the hotel is better than some although the corporate purple spotlights are an unfortunate addition. The College building with its glass covered exterior creates an airy building with a steep open staircase and brightly coloured tables and chairs in the refectory, the interior alive with the movement of people. The six- screen ‘Parkway’ cinema is spacious inside with interesting decoration, but presents a bland façade somewhat relieved by an arcade providing cover from theelements. Outside the College and cinema is a recreational area with artificial grass, easy to maintain, or replace. Throughout the development of this site there have been fears that it would affect the old town. There seems to be little decrease in footfall in the town centre. The Council has for the most part restricted the opening of smaller shops in Flemingate and concentrated on providing larger units for such stores as Debenhams, Wilko and H & M thus providing a different shopping experience to residents or visitors to the town. However the need for flexibility in lettings has led to a more pragmatic approach by the Council because of the fluctuating retail sector in a volatile market.
Over the last 1000 years there have been many changes in the town of Beverley. Buildings have been demolished when no longer needed, timber has been replaced by brick and the town has had to adapt to the coming of the motor vehicle. The development of 16 acres in Flemingate provided the opportunity of concentrating on 21st century architecture over a large area. Luckily the developers have been aware of the need for variation to create interest. Only time will tell if this ambitious project has been successful.
The development of this large area of agricultural land with stunning views of
the Minster and the approach to Beverley has been the subject of discussion for many years. Although technically in the parish of Woodmansey in physical terms it is seen as part of the open approaches to the town.
After much debate the recent approved Local Plan has allocated the whole of the land for future development, primarily housing, employment and community facilities and a Park and Ride.
Primary access was to be from the Woodmansey Mile which was the limit of development in the Local plan approved in 1996 but the recent construction of the SE Bypass has allowed greater accessibility to the site by the provision of a new roundabout also allowing access to the Park and Ride facility.
The Civic Society have been involved during the consultation periods for the development briefs before the submission of any planning applications and it is relevant to say that many of our comments about basic layout, open space and the creation of a community centre were not taken on board. We would have been happier to have seen a composite brief for the whole area each side of the bisecting railway line but a brief has been prepared for each side. Our main concern was the lack of connectivity of movement and the lack of expansion land for the park and Ride.
Our comments are available on the Council’s public access Website
In October 2016 expressions of interested were invited for Red House and its curtilage, owned by ERYC, subject to several conditions. The Red House has an interesting collection of outbuildings and has the 2nd highest grade of a 2*listing by Historic England. It is understood there are longstanding tenancy agreements and most of the outbuildings have been empty for many years. The Civic Society is keen to see the buildings renovated. There is a number of different parts, as illustrated, and a scheme to provide housing accommodation would add to the housing stock and rehabilitate an important property in this Conservation Area and of one of the main entries into the Town. The Council is in negotiation to agree an acceptable scheme and the outcome is awaited.
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Renovation work on the Market Cross was carried out in full consultation with the Civic Society and expert paint specialists were brought in by the Council particularly in relation to the sandstone pillars, which need to be coated with special paint to allow the stone to breathe. The painting has now been completed. The shields have been renovated and returned to their right positions, and the cartouche brought back to its former glory. We still wish to see the lighting less garish and the eventual removal of the plastic flower bins to the south of the cross.
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The Civic Society is not a statutory consultee but nevertheless keeps an eye on applications which affect listed buildings and proposals in the Conservation Area and on other major applications having an impact on the town. We will publish our responses to major applications on the website.
Major proposals for housing are proposed. Approx 14% of new housing allocations in the East Riding are in the Beverley Town area and the Parishes of Molescroft and Woodmansey, a total of 3,300 dwellings. The Molescroft sites with the exception of the residential development of the ER College and Longcroft Lower School are almost complete and included in the 3,300. Consultation is taking place on the sites south of Beverley, sites Bev J, K & L on the plan where 2,370 dwellings are planned, together with a park and ride, education facilities, open space and employment uses. The Civic Society has been in discussion with the consultants on their brief for the area east of the railway and the west side brief prepared by the Council is out for consultation, on which we will comment. Link to plan.
Members of the Executive of the Civic Society and the Beverley Renaissance partnership have been part of a group including East Riding street scene officers, inspecting the town centre and adjacent areas for excessive clutter. There has been some progress but the Council has continued to provide traffic management signs which are only advisory and not mandatory and therefore not a legal requirement. This is particularly noticeable where the original ‘Belisha” beacons at pedestrian crossings have been damaged by the provision of extended poles and lighting totally destroying the original historic design.
During a period of severe restraint in public expenditure it seems illogical to continue with this policy and it is evident that the Council is coming to realize that the continuing maintenance liability of this policy is not sustainable so we look forward to less road painting, and signage only where there is a legal requirement. Many local authorities are more urban design conscious insensitive areas. Adding to the clutter are advertising signs which sometimes require planning approval and have slipped through the net, particularly noticeable detracting from listed buildings in the Centre. The Civic Society will keep these street scene matters in the Conservation Area and elsewhere high in their priority.