Liberal Democrats demand action on the Hippodrome and change of emphasis for city.

March 31, 2008 12:00 AM
Lucy Care and the Liberal Democrats are campaigning to protect Derby's Heritage

Liberal Democrats are campaigning to protect Derby's Heritage

Liberal Democrat councillors say that destruction of Derby's heritage, like large parts of the Hippodrome, was made more likely by the City leadership's fixation with a new build city centre.

The destruction of large parts of the Hippodrome Theatre on Green Lane last Friday has brought into focus the lack of balance in the message Derby has been giving to the world. Derby has a large number of listed buildings - buildings of acknowledged national architectural merit and which have legal protection. The Hippodrome is one of these, and Liberal Democrats say that even now it could be saved. Immediate action must be taken to require the owners to safeguard it from further damage. Such an 'urgent works notice' can be followed up by a 'repairs notice' to require the owners to make good any damage caused by their actions or negligence.

Leader of the Lib Dems on the City Council, Councillor Hilary Jones said "Over the last few years Derby Cityscape and the City Council have been saying to the world - 'Come and see the redevelopment opportunities in Derby'. This has not been balanced with similar support for, and celebration of, our built heritage. St Helen's House has been sold off, Pickford House was threatened with closure and the classic but unlisted building Exeter House is earmarked for demolition.

Councillor Lucy Care is the Lib Dem councillor who speaks on planning issues. She said "The destruction of so much of the Hippodrome must be a wake-up call for Derby. Most Derbians care passionately about Derby's heritage and we must do more to respect and promote it. However, to safeguard what we have inherited from the past we need to make it suitable for the future. For example this may mean allowing sympathetic changes to improve the energy efficiency and layout of buildings to make them suitable for today's uses. If old buildings are not allowed to be brought up to today's standards they are much more likely to be demolished."

Liberal Democrats are calling for the council and Derby Cityscape to have a more balanced approach to development in the city, and are including this in their manifesto for the local elections on May 1st.