Structural stability
In addition to the measured survey, applications for conversion of farm buildings must be accompanied by a structural survey preferably prepared by a qualified architect, surveyor or engineer. The statement must highlight all defects in the structure and the proposed remedial works which should show means of repair and not rebuild as a solution.

Proposals drawings
To enable the Planning Authority to properly assess the implications of a scheme of conversion, clear proposals drawings at a scale of not less than 1:50 must be submitted indicating precisely where all new work is to take place. Any rebuilding must be dearly shown by means of shading or hatching and elements such as new floors or windows must be fully annotated.

In order that the subtle character and patina of age is not lost during the course of the conversions of agricultural buildings, all repairs such as re-roofing and re-pointing will be required to be carried Out using traditional materials and techniques. Preference will be given to the use of sound second hand materials for re-roofing and in appropriate cases the use of second-hand materials will be a specific requirement. The use of modern substitute materials such as upvc for windows and gutters will not be permitted.

Philip Grover looks back ten years to see what, if anything, has changed. Bob Harrison was the Conservation Officer in Newark & Sherwood District Council in 1980 (he’s now with Nottingham City Council). He was invited to give oral evidence to the Working Party, and several pieces of what he said were printed in the Report. It is instructive to look at these specifically and see what, if anything, has changed (page references are to the Montagu Report itself).

Until about two years ago conservation works were few and far between, with a few odd schemes here and there from ‘fanatics.’ Now it has become a very respectable thing. More and more people are realising there can be money in it, and that it’s a good thing to use an old building for many different purposes. The trend is accelerating rapidly now. It’s a pity it didn’t come five years earlier, for some of the buildings which are now available are in a pretty poor state.” (page 34).
Is it still ‘respectable’? Certainly nearly
everyone realises there’s money in it. It’s quicker from London by train to Newark than by tube to Upminster or Uxbridge. So no matter how poor a state a building is in there’s always someone ready to take it on. But are we any better off? The fanatics of the old days at least usually spoke our language. Now it’s a case of “Never mind the quality, feel the width”.

When, for example, we produce a village plan, we identify all buildings needing attention and there is, where possible, a statement identifying possible new uses. We tend, however, not to be too specific; we adopt a flexible approach. We have, for example, done a survey of the Mill gate area, just south of Newark. We’ve spent a lot of time on this. It’s really an action area overlaid with a General Improvement Area. It is mixed use, rehab, new housing and recreation on the riverside, craft workshops. We illustrate opportunities and then get involved on the ground with the builders, owners, etc. (page 56).
Ten years has certainly made a difference
to the Miigate area. This dassic example of planning blight is now perhaps the most fashionable place to live in the town. But again at a big cost; the historic diversity of use has gone. Miigate is becoming a ghetto for the well-heeled and a classic example of.
what shall we be calling it in another ten years’ time, Conservation Blight?

Newark District Council’s decision to site a new shopping centre immediately behind a row of dilapidated buildings on the south side of the Market Place has drawn pedes trians through the existing alleyways and encouraged considerable private investment in the properties. A building society, with the assistance of local and central government funds, is investing approximately a quarter of a million in the Olde White Hart which had been in very serious disrepair. (caption, page 58).
Instead of the Artist’s Impression in the Montagu Report we could now produce a photograph of the splendidly restored front elevation. But the rear wing half the building has remained derelict right in the middle of the new shopping centre almost to the time of writing. Fortunately
it was the eleventh hour work is finally under way on this early timber- framed building.

People have got to be shown the possibilities which old buildings have. There is the question of ‘education’ as well as the financial problems. (page 68).

I think architects should stop being quite so arrogant about design. They should have a little more humility, and be happier working within the constraints of old buildings. (page 71).
Two related topics. The public and the elected members have become more enlightened as public awareness has increased:
architects have become more arrogant as they have become less professional and more commercial with the Government-led increase in public rapaciousness.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the purchase and conversion of Kelham Hall to the Council’s headquarters is the most successful enterprise with which I have been associated in 27 years of local government
Top: Obviously something needed to be done.
. . . but is this quite the right idea?
Miligate Museum of Crafts, formerly Trent
Navigation Warehouse.