New Futures for Birmingham`s Historic Buildings

Conservation: heritage v environment

Posted December 16th, 2009 by Birmingham Conservation Trust with No Comments
St Marys Church Moseley from Ell R Brown on flickr (click on the picture for the original)

St Mary's Church Moseley from Ell R Brown on flickr (click on the picture for the original)

Two types of conservationists are powering up for a confrontation over a church roof in Moseley in Birmingham.   The very successful SusMo (Sustainable Moseley) is looking to put solar panels on the Roof of St Mary’s Church – but if hey do so it will be in the face of stiff opposition from the Victorian Society.

Writing on The Stirrer, Sibyl Ruth says:

If you’re a heritage hard-liner, it doesn’t matter that St Mary’s Vicar and congregation want the building to be more energy-efficient.

Often those who’d like us not to change the past, forget that history is full of change. St Mary’s Church started in the fifteenth century, but has sixteenth and eighteenth century additions. By 1780 it had fallen into such disrepair that services could no longer be held. It was then rebuilt in a neo-classical style. Only during the nineteenth and early twentieth century, architects got rid of all these classical features, extending and ‘Gothicising’ the church.

Our own Joe Holyoak (who clearly cares about green stuffresponds with:

As the Chair of the Casework Subcommittee of the Birmingham and West Midlands Group of the Victorian Society, I represent the architectural conservation lobby. We fully support the autonomous production of solar energy in principle, and in many cases it can be done without damage to architectural quality.

But at St Mary’s Church we feel that the panels are proposed for the wrong place. Yes, they will be invisible from most viewpoints, but not from all. There are many other locations in Moseley where they could be more appropriately located.

Can you cast any more light on this sunshine spat?

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