Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Solent Four Mills: Art deco building set to be demolished

Solent Flour Mills
Image caption The Solent Flour Mills building has dominated the skyline of the docks for more than 80 years

A landmark art deco building which has graced Southampton's waterfront for more than 80 years is to be demolished.

Associated British Ports (ABP) said it intended to demolish the Solent Flour Mills building at Western Docks under permitted development rights.

It said re-purposing the building, which has been unused since Hovis ended production there in 2018, was "not financially viable or feasible".

Heritage campaigners said it was a "short-sighted approach".

The mill was built on newly reclaimed land at the docks in the 1930s. Historic England turned down an application to have it listed in May last year.

'Parking'

It has been unused since 2018 when Hovis announced the end of production with the loss of 71 jobs.

City councillor Sarah Bogle called on ABP to at least preserve the "most historic aspects" of the building, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

"We need to work with ABP to find alternative solutions to demolition, bring other partners in and instead of losing a much-loved part of our heritage, find a new purpose for the building that benefits both the city and the port," she added

The Twentieth Century Society, which campaigns to preserve important architecture, said it opposed the demolition.

A spokeswoman said: "Demolition to provide surface parking and storage space is a short-sighted approach that ignores the building's importance to the city, its landmark character and the environmental damage that would result from the loss of the embodied energy in the building's fabric."

ABP, which has submitted a planning application for the method of demolition, said it needed to "optimise the amount of ground level storage" within the port.

"Given the specialist nature of the activity that took place within the facility, re-purposing the building is not financially viable or feasible."

It said the work would begin within three months and would take about 40 weeks to complete.

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