A FORMER city councillor and a pensioner have joined forces to try to save Chester’s controversial Northgate Arena from the bulldozer.
Ruth Davidson, who represented Handbridge and St Mary’s ward on the city council, previously appeared in The Chronicle arguing the arena ought to be made a listed building .
The article was read by Chester resident Geoff Alderton, who decided to apply for it to be listed because otherwise it is likely to be knocked down and replaced with new leisure facilities at Greyhound Retail Park.
Mr Alderton, who accepts his liking for the arena is not shared by everyone, has just heard his application has been turned down but intends to appeal.
In his letter to English Heritage he wrote: “I expect that you are concerned, as I am, that nowadays there is so much redevelopment that good examples of relatively recent buildings are being lost.
“Architectural styles, including Victorian and Georgian, have always been unpopular for decades after they became out of fashion but the buildings were not knocked down and remain with us.
“That is often not so today. Anyway, the arena has a style of its own rather than being typical of the still unpopular 1970s.”
In reply, English Heritage said the Secretary of State had decided not to list the building because it “lacks the high level of architectural quality” required; the architectural styling is “typical rather than exceptional” and the interior of the building has been “compromised by later alterations”.
Mr Alderton told The Chronicle: “They say it’s not exceptional for its type. I don’t know what they mean by “its type”.”
Ruth Davidson, who was on the board of CADSART, which manages the arena, said: “The Civic Trust said in their book about interesting buildings in Chester that the arena was ‘necessarily large but the careful brick and anodised aluminium detailing enables it to make a positive statement from the inner ring road without being aggressive.
“It’s a flagship building and people like its appearance and the shape of it.”