New owner hopes to restore dilapidated Bracebridge Pumping Station
Council chiefs say a ‘local business owner’ has bought Bracebridge Pumping Station and plans to ‘sympathetically convert’ the iconic building for new use.
It comes after conservation campaigners The Victorian Society announced today (Wednesday) that the 1880s structure was on its top 10 most-endangered list.
The organisation publishes the list every year - to highlight ‘at-risk heritage all over the country in the hope of finding new solutions’.
They say the condition of the ‘Italian Romanesque-style’ building is ‘rapidly deteriorating and the striking, slender chimney is steadily eroding’.
TV star Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society president, described the building as ‘perfect for restoration as a dramatic home’ considering how close it is to Worksop town centre.
He said: “Pumping stations are one of the best examples of how today’s approach to architecture tends to differ from the Victorian.
“Our utilitarian buildings rarely have any thought for their aesthetic design.”
However as the news emerged today Bassetlaw District Council said work had already begun to save the building - including securing the site with a new security fence and gates and vegetation clearance, while CCTV was due to be installed shortly.
Bracebridge councillor Jo White, member for regeneration at the council, has responded to the Victorian Society’s assessment of the building, saying ‘I would question the view that it is rapidly deteriorating’.
She added: “It’s a well built, huge and solid building with no major structural defects that has the potential to be brought back to life.
“Bracebridge Pumping Station is one of my favourite buildings - it dominates the landscape in my ward and is a true Worksop landmark.
“That’s why the council’s planning conservation team is working with the new owner to ensure that it has a long term, viable future and that the building is protected for generations to come.”
Councillor White told how, although iconic, the pumping house had been a ‘victim of its location’ - being right next to the River Ryton which has flooded several times.
Flooding issues combined with its proximity to an industrial estate and being overlooked from the front and the rear had ‘put off’ many potential purchasers of the site over the years.
Planning permission for the Grade II Listed building has been granted several times in the past 30 years to convert and extend the main building to form a nursing home and later to form 24 flats - however none have ever come to fruition.
Coun White added: “Thankfully the site was recently purchased by a local business owner who intends to sympathetically convert the building for a new use.
“We will continue to work with the new owner so that this important part of Worksop’s heritage can be conserved in a sympathetic and appropriate manner.”
The building’s architect and engineer - John Allsopp - was responsible for the design of many buildings in the town however and this was his most grand structure.
The coal-powered station was used to pump sewage to a processing facility.
It is unclear as yet exactly what plans the pumping station’s new owner has for the building.