Doncaster doesn't need another blot on the lanscape

Reading your article about the proposed redevelopment of the Sandall Park facilities that followed an earlier article about St. Sepulchre Gate and The Frenchgate Centre (Arndale Centre in my day), I had to ask myself “Why does Doncaster get such awful buildings?”

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 1:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th September 2019, 3:28 pm
Sandall Park, Doncaster. Pic. Marie Caley

There are many that can be used as examples: The Arndale is an obvious one and two others that spring to mind are the vandalism perpetrated on the Gaumont Cinema ( when the mural facade was covered in blue steel) and the new hotel at the racecourse. I’m sure your readers can add to this list of mistakes.

I grew up in Wheatley in the 50’s and frequently visited Sandall Park with my parents and remember many happy excursions boating and enjoying the freedom of the sites open spaces.

Looking at the proposal for Sandall Park I was appalled and reminded of Prince Charles comment that “it looks like a carbuncle on the face of an old friend”.

As an architect (retired) I looked hard to find some merit in the design and had to conclude that it was drawing its inspiration from either the old Gents Toilets on the site or maybe a 50s colliery building or school. It can’t be just money or the lack of it, that drives the standard down to third rate!

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In the1960s the Council commissioned a renowned architect, Sir Frederick Gibberd, to design the Law Courts and Police HQ, and I suggest that a similar approach is taken to encourage a twenty first century design for this site, or put the proposal out to competition.

The proposed design is dated, pedestrian, boring, unimaginative and totally unsuited to its setting.

The fanciful illustrations of the view from the lake are obviously there to show that the building won’t be visible (thankfully) from the lake, hidden as it is behind exotic planting.

Whilst new facilities are welcomed for future generations enjoyment does it have to be in a building that will be a blot on our townscape for the next 50 years?

I will be sending my comments to DMBC Planning and advise any of your readers who feel strongly about this application to comment at : https://planning.doncaster.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=PWA9VMFXJSS00&activeTab=summary

Frank McNamee

York Road, Tickhill, Doncaster