The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Glass and Steel

The glass and steel entrance and side of Waitrose allows you to look into the bright shop from outside.

The glass atrium at the top of Station House allows people living there to have a lounge with sunlight sunset and stars.

Yesterday evening there was a public meeting to discuss what should be done with the County Hall. Architectural drawing, were shown ,demonstrating how the undercroft could be glazed with large non reflective glass panels - inside the arches. A glass and steel lift could extend up to the upper storey and down to the basement.

There were differences of opinion, and a good discussion. The County Hall is one of 400 Grade I listed buildings that English Heritage has a duty of care to protect. Three representatives from English Heritage were there to listen to the debate. Their starting point is that they would not mind a lift going from the basement to the sessions hall (half-way up) but they would prefer it to tone in with the stone. They were not too keen on glazing in of the under croft, but were there to listen.

Some local people sided with the English Heritage view for aesthetic reasons. Others wanted better access-for-all to both a permanent Abingdon exhibition on the top floor and a changing exhibition in the sessions hall.

Opinion was also divided on glazing in, as it has been since the idea was first suggested in Victorian times, but, with advances in glass technology, some people had moved towards the idea of the undercroft being glazed in. The positive view was it could act as a show case for Abingdon and the museum. Those against were worried about spoiling the open nature, and character of the covered area, and whether the glass could withstand vandalism.

Lottery funs are soon predicted to dry up for heritage projects as the olympics takes more and more of the cash. So it is now, or .... wait ten years. A decision cannot wait ... Success depend on lottery funds. and getting them depends on local people and English Heritage being behind the project.


Blogger MilliHelen said...

I couldn't get to the public meeting - but I love the idea of the glass lift and hate the idea of the undercroft being glazed in.

You reported the meeting - but what do you personally think, Backstreeter?

18 October 2007 23:30  
Blogger Backstreeter said...

Personally, I like the idea of both. I would like to see engravings on the glass by artists to make it something special. But take away the undercroft at night and young people need somewhere better to hang out. The Old Gaol used to have snooker / pool / table tennis. We need that sort of thing somewhere.

19 October 2007 00:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about you, but I've never had much fun from the lottery...

19 October 2007 06:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the public meeting, and sat close to the suits from English Heritage. Most of the comments were really positive, and the tone of the meeting was good. The one thing I wonder is why English Heritage bothered to turn up, since (metaphorically speaking) they sat with their fingers in their ears going "Lah lah lah" the whole evening? It was obvious their minds were made up - they knew what they were going to approve (or, more accurately, deny) before the meeting, which rather defeated the object of the evening.

I am getting increasingly cynical about public meetings. They increasingly seem to be an exercise so that the powers that be can claim in their literature that they listen to public opinion, without actually letting the public shape their decision in any way.

Remind anyone else of the ABITS consultation?

9 December 2007 07:06  

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