I spoke to Debra Hart, a spokesperson for Save Bolton Palais Campaign. It seems that they can’t demolish the building because it’s protected but there are plans to try and change it. Please read what Debra has to say and don’t forget the petition. The people of Bolton need our help.
Hi Tricia, as you know the building dates back to 1928, is older than our Civic Centre in Le Mans Crescent and holds lots of memories of WWII and the Americans coming to dance there, it did a lot to keep the people of Bolton’s spirits up during WWII. This building is not going to be demolished 🙂 just thought I’d point that out. The current owners would love that to happen. For some very odd reason the leader of the town’s councillors would like that to happen too (we can only speculate on why that might be). This building is in the Deansgate Conservation Zone, these Conservation Zones are protected by English Heritage (the building on its own has no heritage listing, but the streetscape is protected – the visual elements of a street, including the look of the lights and street furnishings on the road and the building material should all be as close to authentic as possible). The Palais has been protected so far and its heritage in the Art Deco Era is still there behind the cladding. Nobody has managed to destroy this so far and we have every intention of keeping all Councillors (including their leader) to the objectives of having a conservation zone. The owner of such a building may use materials of the era to beautify and uplift a building within a conservation zone. What they cannot do is destroy the building and replace it with a modern glass building – glass is not in keeping with the Deansgate Conservation Zone. The giant sized silver item on the roof is certainly not in keeping with the zone. If that planning permission is granted – by council in consultation with English Heritage – then it would be fair to say ‘someone is on the take’ – there is no way that a glass building with a giant silver item on its roof fits in with an English Heritage Conservation Zone – no way in the world. I’ll add a picture of the building, which was taken as the building’s authentic character was being protected many years ago. Nobody wishes to hold the building back from having future potential, but once one destroys a building from 1928, it is then gone forever. All eras of buildings have equal brilliance within this conservation zone, with the exception of a 2017 building made of glass and steel. We intend to keep the buildings that pre-date Le Mans Crescent, we will protect it. A book featuring the Palais would be great, Boltonians would love that. Hopefully the building’s owners will love it too as I’m sure it will promote the building, which of course they must restore in keeping with the conservation zone in which it stands. Bolton needs to be promoted as a historically brilliant town with buildings from some very exciting and dramatic eras – we do not intend the centre of Bolton to be a parking lot for people visiting Manchester, they can use the outskirts of Bolton for that idea. Thanks for your interest Tricia and we look forward to reading your book. I will write again once I’ve read how exactly we are supposed to voice our objections to the glass and silver metal building to the Bolton Council, just in case they need help in making the very obvious decision of saying no to the developer, or rather the building restorer who just doesn’t know it yet. We intend to follow the correct process, whatever that may be.
I thanked Debra for clarification and details. I asked if she was happy for me to post her comment on my blog.
This was Debra Hart’s response:
It is absolutely fine by me 🙂 We would love everyone to appreciate heritage. Australians and Americans know that it is what England does best. Bolton should keep and promote its best asset. Supporting this one conservation zone is really also supporting the whole of England’s Heritage. These zones are what visitors to the UK want to see. Australia has the sunshine and the beaches and England trumps us all with its history, which is why UK TV sells so well, people around the world want to see the settings. Why else would a world traveller ever wish to visit the UK if it wasn’t for the heritage and nostalgia. This particular zone has many eras of buildings in the one afternoon walk, but nobody wants a cheap 2017 building ruining it all. I honestly think your book could help the owner of the building but they make take some time to realise that. Thanks
Thank you Debra for filling us in and keeping us up-to-date.
Please see below a letter sent to Bolton Planning Department from another spokesperson, Maggie Gallagher. Maggie has given me permission to post it on here:
Bolton Planning Department, Tracey Crouch, Mr Martin Mansell and Mrs Marion Barter,
Re planning application number 97795/16
I am writing on behalf of a group of people that wish to preserve the Palais de-Danse building and enhance the Conservation Zone in which it stands.
We would like to present our petition with 3,231 supporters, who wish to have the building preserved, and this Conservation Zone enhanced.
The Palais de-Danse building was built in 1928, before the Civic Centre on Le Mans Crescent was built. The building is within a Conservation Zone and we wish to protect the zone with this building included. We would like to see the outside of the building restored by professional restorers to enhance the Conservation Zone and keep the Art Deco Era of this building alive within the Conservation Zone.
We have been in contact with Jon Wilson from Darwen Terracotta and Faience and he has been telling us of buildings that have not retained their original interiors but have still managed to have a great decorative façade that is in keeping with the era of the building. We would like the people who are paid to look after the Deansgate Conservation Zone to speak with Jon. We know that the previous owners, who wished to open the building as a restaurant, found the building to be in a good condition and had their design plans sent to council with no mention of the building being structurally unsound or only fit for demolition. We feel that Bolton has a good future in tourism and has a lot of history available on the internet for world travellers and British tourists. We want Bolton to preserve its buildings that predate Le Mans Crescent so that it can have a future in tourism. According to the UK Government’s Tourism Action Plan, tourism is one of the UK’s most important industries, directly responsible for 1.6 million jobs at all entry levels throughout the UK.
Darwen Terracotta and Faience http://www.darwenterracotta.com/restoration/
The current owners of the Palais de-Danse building, which they refer to as the former Ikon nightclub or Jumping Jaks, imply that the building should be knocked down and replaced by a glass and steel hotel, which is not in keeping with the Deansgate Conservation Zone in either building materials or original design of 1928. Bolton may well be able to have a new hotel but it needs to be located on another block of land, we do of course like the look of the plans for The Link on Bow Street. The Bow Street block of land does not already house a vintage building as it currently has an unusable car park on it.
We do not hope to dictate the use of this building, our objection and our petition is to stop the Palais de-Danse building from being demolished and therefore ‘keeping it’ for the future. We do believe that it has a very valid future in the entertainment industry and could be used for dancing and parties etc but we leave its immediate use in the hands of the owner. All that we ask is that you do not allow anyone to destroy the building. If the current owners do not see a viable potential for them, then they should sell the building to a buyer that does see the potential of an Art Deco Era of building, which was built in 1928 and stands in a Conservation Zone.
The building is home to a huge amount of Bolton’s history, with many WWII dance parties, including a VE Day party being held there. It also holds many personal memories to the people of Bolton since 1928. Many of these historical stories have been covered by the Bolton News. We want to keep the home of these memories standing and not have it replaced with a new build. At the moment there is cladding protecting the original features of this building, which have probably been protected by the Conservation Zoning so far.
The Palais and the Pictures – going out in Wartime Bolton. http://www.boltonswar.org.uk/t-goingout.htm
This story is titled Dancing the night away in the Bolton Palais. http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/…/13808272.Dancing_the_nigh…/
At this time we ask for either reassurance that the building will not be allowed to be bulldozed, or time to gather further letters of petition from local businesses and time to contact groups such as Royal Services League for any help and letters of support that we can gather.
Please let us know by return email of any time limits that we need to work with in gathering further support and presenting our petition to Bolton Council.
Don’t forget peeps, The Palais is where it all began for Grace and Jack from House of Grace. House of Grace will be launched early 2017, watch this space.
Don’t forget to sign the petition. Let’s keep this beautiful building.
And to keep up-to-date follow Facebook’s Save the Bolton Palais de danse Information Page