Birmingham planners will visit a historic Second World War mail delivery office before deciding whether it should be demolished to make way for new housing.
The delivery office in Upper Clifton Road, Sutton Coldfield was built by American forces in 1942 to process letters and parcels sent to troops fighting in Europe.
But the city council’s planning committee was advised to reject Royal Mail’s plans to demolish the building and build a new delivery office plus 51 houses because it had English Heritage grade II listing protection.
It is listed because it played a major part in the war effort through the morale-boosting job of keeping GIs in touch with their sweethearts and families back home.
The committee is also set to consider an alternative plan to partially demolish the building in a few weeks and decided to postpone a final decision until after a visit on Thursday.
Royal Mail has argued the office is unremarkable and would cost the taxpayer more than £2 million to repair. Bosses also pledged to build a small exhibition charting the site’s past in its new office.
But Coun Barry Henley (Lab, Brandwood) was scathing of Royal Mail’s decision not to challenge the English Heritage listing first.
He said: “The approach of Royal Mail has been entirely wrong. If they had the confidence in their case they would have gone for delisting.”
English Heritage has said that the building is not architecturally significant but its history makes it worth preserving.
The committee also heard that Tudor Hill Residents’ Assocaition, Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell and councillors were keen for the demolition to take place.
Bob Carr, of the residents association, said: “The historical significance of this building can be best served by a history display in the new delivery office.”
He said residents would not like a development which involved extra traffic from Tudor Hill, which was why they supported total demolition and access from Upper Clifton Road.
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