Former Belmont Works, Birmingham
The former Belmont Works is an unlisted building of merit which has significance as a handsome 19th century ‘free-style’ building, reflecting the architectural exuberance characteristic of the thriving industry in the Birmingham. It makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Warwick Bar Conservation Area - centred on the Digbeth and Grand Union canals and their industrial past. The building also has historic interest, both in is original use as a bicycle factory and the links to the versatile nature of Birmingham’s ‘Workshop of the World’ manufacturing industry - reflective in the factory’s evolving production under the ownership of the Cooperation Wholesale Society. This significance has been severely compromised by a fire in 2007 which has left the building in ruinous state – at risk of further decay. Insall were appointed in 2015 to assist in proposals by Aukett Swanke to install a viable new use into the building, including a high quality contemporary rear extension, which would enable the restoration of its significance and secure its conservation in the long-term. The refurbished building will stand at the entrance to the Eastside Locks regeneration area giving historic context to this new quarter as evidence of its industrial past and architecture – reinforcing its role as a local landmark and enhancing the wider conservation area.