A Letter from Nantwich

March 2009    (updated)                                                                             

Nice building - shame about the location




This (left) is where an planning applicant wanted to build a new shop or office - around the chimney of the former coach manufactory






THIS open space in the centre of town could have been lost if permission had been given to build a new shop or office, wrapped round the 19th century chimney of a smithy which provided parts for a coach manufactory next to it. 

   At it happened, the applicant withdrew the application.

   It remains an open area in The Cocoa Yard - a pleasant pedestrian way that links Hospital Street and Pillory Street. It wouldn't have been the same as The Cocoa House Passage!

   For copyright reasons, I couldn't show you a picture of the proposed shop/office which the site owners would like to build there. But - I have to admit - it would have been impressive, although it would have spoiled the area, leaving just the walk through. The Cocoa Walk??

   One of the things objectors didn't like was that part of the new building will be built around the brick chimney which is currently an object (centre) of interest to townspeople and visitors alike. One of the objectors was Nantwich Civic Society, whose Chairman, Jeff Stubbs, said: ". . . we consider that to build another structure on this particular site is the wrong thing to do. If (the chimney) is incorporated into the new building much of it will be lost to public scrutiny."

   The Millennium Clock which stands in front of the chimney would not be affected.

    Nantwich Town Council was among those who objected to the planning application.

    Actually, the excellent graphics accompanying the planning application showed a single-storey structure next to the proposed shop or office - the entrance area to the new building - wrapped around behind the chimney, leaving the front face still visible.

  The chimney would not have been left thrusting out of the roof of the building as I first thought might be the case.  

   But a view into the chimney - at the rear of the structure - would have been inside the single-storey structure.


   It would seem that this could have been part of, and might therefore be hidden behind, a display area. And if the new building had been taken over as an office, would it have been the type to which the public had access anyway?

   However, perhaps more important than the loss of the visual aspect of the chimney was that the proposed building - while fitting in an historic town like Nantwich - would, in my opinion, have been out of keeping with other, modern, buildings in The Cocoa Yard. As you will see from my picture (above), these are two- or three-storey brick-built buildings.

   The two-storey part of the proposed shop/office would have been half-timbered with a gable end facing The Cocoa Yard. If this were a genuine old structure, still surviving the passing years, there might be some justification for it being there.

   But to build it anew would have been out of keeping with the area. From the artist's/architect's drawings, it looked like a great building, but it would have been in the wrong place.  


The chimney as seen at the rear of the structure

The olde-worlde look of the yard that would have been lost

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