Allam family plan to convert forgotten Hull buildings into apartments

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 9 Nov 2018

Angus Young says he is 100 per cent behind the scheme for Cannon Street.

Tucked away in a warren of scrapyards and garages next to the River Hull is a largely forgotten chunk of the city's industrial history.

A clue to its past lies in the name of the street it still occupies.

Cannon Street takes its title from the weaponry manufactured there during the Napoleonic Wars.

Today the surviving elements of the former Rose Downs and Thompson engineering works still dominate the skyline while the modern-day version of the company, now known as Desmet Ballestra, still employs around 100 staff at part of the site.

The original factory is long gone but the old foundry, which dates from 1874, is still there together with what is known as the Hennebique building which looms over the junction with Caroline Street.

The latter is thought to to be one of the oldest surviving reinforced concrete buildings in Britain and, like the old foundry, has grade two listed status as a building of historic importance.

Personally, I prefer the old foundry with its intricate brickwork and circular windows but the sad fact remains that both of the buildings have been empty and derelict for more than 20 years.

This week their future was again up for debate when plans to convert them into apartments went before the city council's planning committee.

Councillors deferred a decision for a month to allow the developers to come up with some kind of guarantee that the current engineering operations at the site will be relocated elsewhere within the city should the go-ahead be given.

Final approval also depends on whether councillors decide to allow housing on a site allocated for employment use in the council's recently adopted Local Plan.

That would be a big call but I'm all for breathing new llife into creaking old buildings which no longer have any realistic chance of being used for their original purpose, in this case heavy engineering.

The would-be developers also happen to the Allams, the very same father and son duo who may or may not be about to call time on their ownership of Hull City.

I've been fairly critical about some aspects of their stewardship of the club and the SMC over the years but in this case, I'm backing them 100 per cent.

True, the immediate neighbourhood around Cannon Street doesn't immediately strike you as Hull's next trendy residential hotspot even if it it's right on the edge of the city centre.

But, then again, neither did the old Fruit Market not so many years ago and look what's happened there recently.

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