Society in bid to save Banbury steam shed

MHBG-19-02-15 Steam Powered Factory NNL-150324-103400001
MHBG-19-02-15 Steam Powered Factory NNL-150324-103400001

Banbury is being asked to support efforts to save one of the last remaining links to the town’s international importance as a steam engine manufacturer.

The Banbury Civic Society (BCS) has called on the town to save the historic Steam Engine Factory in the former Burgess buildings in Canal Street.

“What a great sadness if this demolition goes ahead. If any alternative use can be found, what an opportunity to show how much Banbury cares about its Victorian heritage.”

Lady Saye and Sele

Swan Directors SIPP has applied for permission to demolish the Victorian factory, from where steam engines were exported around the globe, and house six industrial units in a new building on the site.

BCS has launched a Facebook campaign calling for restoration of the building and is talking to the developers in a bid to find a way to preserve it.

Cherwell District Council has delayed a decision and BCS wants people to write in objecting to a demolition.

Among comments received by the council are one from Lady Saye and Sele who said: “What a great sadness if this demolition goes ahead. If any alternative use can be found, what an opportunity to show how much Banbury cares about its Victorian heritage.”

The National Traction Engine Trust said: “The building is a very rare survivor. Elsewhere similar locations are very successful heritage centres.”

Michael Constable of Long Buckby, near Daventry, said the new owners should be required to refurbish the site, since the Canal & River Trust sold it after being refused permission to demolish in 2013 on the basis the site ‘was an integral part of the industrial heritage of the canalside area’.

The Association for Industrial Archeology said: “Its retention could enhance the canalside and indicate the importance of canals for transport and canalside industries, which in Banbury’s case is the former Burgess building.”

Adam Marriott said: “To demonstrate the building is redundant it needs to be shown nobody else is interested in making good use of it. Others are. Redundancy has not been demonstrated.”

See banburycivicsociety.org for more details.