Historic plans showing a Victorian Pumping Station threatened with demolition have been discovered in a skip in West Bridgford. The plans, which date from 1901, show the original pumping station which was built in 1886 along with numerous other buildings on the Abbey Road Depot site. All buildings other than the Pumping Station have since been demolished. However, this is now threatened with demolition by Rushcliffe Borough Council in order to make way for residential development.
Recent research by local residents has established that the Pumping Station is one of the oldest buildings remaining in West Bridgford. Indeed the 1899 map of the area shows the building surrounded by farmland. Along with the improvements to the sewage treatment system the Pumping Station facilitated the development of the village of West Bridgford and improve the insanitary conditions which existed at the time. The improvements to public health were tangible. in 1909 West Bridgford was considered to have the lowest death rates of anywhere in the country.
The treated water was used on the adjacent farm where the Abbey Park Estate now stands. Detailed records list all the produce grown: from mangolds to oats. Regular donations of ‘15 dozen cabbages’ were made to the General Hospital in Nottingham.
The depot and Pumping Station are in the process of being sold by Rushcliffe Borough Council. An Outline Planning application for a new housing development has been approved. Furthermore a separate demolition notice has recently been submitted by Rushcliffe Borough Council for the demolition of the Pumping Station. While the new housing is a welcome addition to the area many local people feel that the planning process lacked thorough consultation and engagement with the local community. This is now manifesting itself in growing calls for the Pumping Station to be saved from demolition and incorporated into the new development.
It is acknowledged that keeping the Pumping Station would put constraints on the development and, potentially, marginally reduce the number of homes possible on the site and thereby its commercial value. However there is more to value than can be counted in purely commercial terms.
The building has significant historic and architectural value to West Bridgford. There is potential social value in retaining the building and repurposing it as a community facility, something which the Abbey Park area is currently without. If the building is demolished this potential would be lost forever.
The Pumping Station is a unique local building and integral to the story of West Bridgford. Inspired planning could make it an iconic asset to both the new development and to the wider community. You can’t rescue a building from a skip.
An on-line petition has been set up to gather support for retention of the Pumping Station. Paper petitions are also being completed locally. Comments can be made on the proposed demolition of the Pumping Station via the following link, https://planningon-line.rushcliffe.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=Q5JGG9NL0EI00