For months now, English Heritage have been saying to the developer who owns The Mechanics Institute that they want more details about his plans, and the developer asks, ‘what details do you want?’… And nothing happens. Now empty buildings (especially big empty buildings) do not make money (but they don’t cost much to maintain either), so one would have thought there was a financial incentive on the developer to make a sensible effort to resolve this impasse. Similarly, as the building is on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register, one would think they would be eager to resolve the issue too. Apparently not. The developer’s new proposal to demolish part of the building seems a very blunt approach to trying to re-start dialogue. Might not use of a telephone be more effective and easier? There’s no suggestion from either side that this has been tried in the intervening months. As the saying goes, an Englishman’s home is his castle. It shouldn’t be his pawn. Still, if my earlier suggestion were correct, demolition might yet be the most effective route to restoration.

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