Application to demolish Banbury’s old Steam Factory is withdrawn

Banbury Steam Factory, last used as the Burgess agricultural supplies centre in Canal Street
Banbury Steam Factory, last used as the Burgess agricultural supplies centre in Canal Street

A controversial plan to bulldoze an historic, canalside building, once the centre of Victorian steam engine production, has been withdrawn from today’s Cherwell planning committee agenda.

Plans have been in the pipeline since 2014 to redevelop the site, a large brick building, last used as the agricultural supplies centre for Burgess, in Canal Lane.

Owners Swan Directors SIPP wanted to demolish the former steam factory and build six industrial units on the site.

The matter was to have been decided at May’s planning meeting but councillors heeded a last minute intervention by the Banbury Civic Society, which said the plan went against Cherwell District Council’s own conservataion plan for the canalside of the town.

Members of the committee voted to defer a decision pending a site visit, which was due to be made today (Thursday) immediately before they met to make a final decision.

They were due to inspect the site in the light of the Banbury Civic Society’s ideas for an alternative scheme that would allow the new industrial uses to be incorporated into a renovated building which left most of the original structure intact.

This week’s meeting agenda, however, contained a new officer’s report which reversed the previous recommendation of approval and suggested councillors should now refuse to grant planning permission for demolition.

And by Monday evening objectors had been informed that Swan Directors DPP had withdrawn the plan which had been opposed by several groups including Historic England (English Heritage), the Victorian Society, the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society, the Association for Industrial Archaeology and Council for Protection of Rural England.