Leicester Civic Society
2017 Civic Society Awards

23 February 2018

23rd February 2018

PRESS RELEASE: 2017 CIVIC SOCIETY AWARDS.

Leicester Civic Society has now declared the winning entries for the 2017 Civic Society Awards. It was a very great pleasure to once again receive nominations for, and to visit examples of both restoration and new buildings that enrich our historic built environment. There were a record number of nominations in this the thirteenth year of our awards, and the beautiful buildings to which we have given awards and commendations are unquestionably the heritage of our city’s future.

By the unanimous decision of our adjudication panel the 2017 winner of the prestigious Restoration Award is Winstanley House. In 2008 we were approached by local businessman Mr. Naresh Parmar with a project to rescue and restore Braunstone Hall as a boutique hotel and conference centre, as with The City Rooms on Hotel Street, for which he had just won the 2007 Civic Society Award for Restoration. We loved the idea of a town centre Georgian Assembly Rooms being complimented by a Georgian Country House in this way and threw our support behind Mr. Parmar’s project, which finally overcame all obstacles and gained planning consent in 2014. It has now taken three years of hard work to rescue the hall. The Parmars had purchased a large historic building, semi-derelict and damaged by lead theft, vandalism and arson, and needed to create a high-class hotel and restaurant facility that lying close to the M1, could compete in a regional market. The result was opened by Sir Peter Soulsby on 10th October 2017. Braunstone Hall has been transformed as “Winstanley House”, renamed in honour of the family whose home it was for so many years. Winstanley House has undergone a magnificent restoration and conversion, with modern extensions towards the stables and gardens incorporating a Grand Ballroom for 450, and southwards with another ballroom for 150. There are nineteen splendid boutique hotel rooms and the “Black Iron Restaurant” on the ground floor of the hall.

In 1927 the historic east side of Southgate Street, consisting of John Johnson’s ‘Consanguitarium’ together with many Georgian shops and houses was demolished to make way for a coach station and bus garage. The destruction was completed in 1973 when the west side was demolished to make way for the Southgates Underpass. The garage buildings survived intact until 2005. They too were then demolished. The losses of 1927 could not of course be made good, but it was hoped that the redevelopment of the site would at least be an improvement on the ugly bus garage. The proposed Lumis development has undergone several design changes but was finally completed in 2017. The Lumis Building is a £28.5M redevelopment and provides quality accommodation for up to 567 students. The Lumis Building is in fact four buildings surrounding a landscaped central courtyard. The maximum height is only six floors and the design is very much in keeping with the city centre, echoing that of many of our Victorian factories. Furthermore, this striking new development provides tantalising glimpses through to Georgian New Street and the historic skylines of Greyfriars and Market Place conservation areas beyond. This is altogether a worthy New Build Award win for Maber Architects.

Leicester Civic Society has also given a commendation to De Montfort University Business School for their restoration of the Great Hall of Leicester Castle. We were greatly impressed by the quality of restoration that has been achieved with this historic Grade I listed building.

A second commendation went to the University of Leicester for The Engineering Building. We were impressed by the quality of roof restoration that has been achieved with this Grade II-star listed building.

Further commendations were made to three private houses in Stoneygate Conservation Area, 1 The Avenue, 14 Burlington Road and 15 Portland Road.

Our Guest of Honour making the awards on Friday 13th April 2017 will be The Very Reverend David Monteith, The Dean of Leicester. The Dean will present the awards, with a reception and dinner at the City Rooms, Hotel Street.

Leicester Civic Society continues to say that encouraging and celebrating restoration and design excellence in historic Leicester is a noble cause and one in which the Society is proud to be taking the lead.

STUART BAILEY

Chairman and Public Relations Officer

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1) The Awards presentations will be made at 7.30pm on FRIDAY 13th APRIL 2018 at the City Rooms, Hotel Street, by The Dean of Leicester, The Very Reverend David Monteith. The Leicester Mercury is invited to attend for the presentation.

2) Leicester Civic Society is an independent voluntary organisation. A registered charity we aim to promote the highest standards of planning and architecture and to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic and public interest in the City of Leicester. The Society is funded by subscription and is open to all who are interested in actively furthering its aims.

3) The officer making this communication has no objection to being named and identified in their role but wishes his/her home address to remain confidential in any publication. Contact may be made through the Society’s web site.

Registered Charity No. 502932.   Member of EMACHS.   Member of the Historic Towns Forum.
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