5-11 West Street, St Philips
The image shows the Gin Palace, the first stage of a never-to-be Midland Hotel, which stands on the north-east corner of the Old Market/West Street/Midland Road/Lawfords Gate crossroads. The proposed development is in the centre of the image. Neither the Council nor the Society liked the developer’s first two schemes, but we support the current planning application to build a 134-bedroom hotel in a new building of ground plus 3 storeys.
The site runs parallel to Lawfords Gate and has a return frontage to Braggs Lane where it will retain the locally listed Swift and Co. deco façade. This is an important scheme that could enhance a broken part of West Street and deliver a retail unit large enough for the convenience store that the area lacks.
We thought the West Street elevation was rather plain. We suggested that the inclusion of some modest architectural elements could enhance the bare appearance without creating a pastiche of a historical form. The window openings could include stone window sills to add interest. A cornice would cast an interesting shadow. The windows appear cheerless, they have no internal divisions. Internal glazing details would enhance the whole façade. The Old Market Community Association will make more positive suggestions to improve the design.