Dear Editor, Further to your recent coverage of the plight of Island House in Eastside and Terry Grimley’s letter on the subject, I would also like to register my utter exasperation at the prospect of losing a precious piece of older architecture in an area that has few examples of anything more than twenty years old.
Birmingham City Council’s own recently published Eastside Masterplan document states “Retaining and enhancing existing character and distinctiveness, using the heritage assets of the quarter as an inspirational starting point” as one of it’s objectives.
With the future of The Eagle and Tun and The Fox and Grapes public houses in doubt and rumours that the Christopher Wray building and Woodman pub are by no means safe, it is critical that everything is done to preserve Island House for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.
I understand that although the building is locally listed, it is not protected from demolition, which begs the question, what is the point of such a listing?
Furthermore, it will be replaced by a lacklustre landscaped area, something that this part of Eastside appears to be excelling at with great swathes of empty space, while we await the delivery of the HS2 terminus.
The crowning shame in this sorry saga, is that the demolition document prepared for the developer Quintain, includes original drawings for Island House which reveal another storey including a magnificent cupola that was lost after being damaged during World War Two. Why not restore the building to it’s former glory and find a sympathetic use for it? It seems perverse that a city with the ambition of Birmingham should allow yet another part of its heritage to fall by the wayside.