Peterborough’s British Sugar seeks to dissolve protection ruling on historic ‘Sugar Cube’

Peterborough-based British Sugar is challenging a heritage watchdog’s decision to impose a listed status on part of its former headquarters.

Monday, 24th June 2019, 10:21 am
The so-called Sugar Cube, which has been protected from demolition by Historic England

The action by Historic England earlier this year brought demolition and development work at British Sugar’s Oundle Road site to an abrupt end.

The grade two listing of the so-called Sugar Cube – a glazed cube section of the building – protects it from demolition.

Now British Sugar, which employs about 250 people in Peterborough, has requested that officials carry out a review of the decision.

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The company, which is hoping to secure planning approval from Peterborough City Council for a Lidl store and 70 homes on the Oundle Road site, is demanding officials closely re-examine the reasons for the listing.

A British Sugar spokesperson said: “We were surprised to receive the news earlier this year that part of the old British Sugar site on Oundle Road has been listed.

“We have requested a review and believe the reasons given for the de-listing should be scrutinised further.

“We hope to receive a decision in the near future.”

Heritage England imposed a grade two listing on the glass cube section of the British Sugar offices after concerns were raised by Peterborough Civic Society.

The heritage organisation, which is largely funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, claims the glass cube is ‘a sophisticated and elegant commercial work by Arup Associates, an interdisciplinary company at the forefront of the design of speculative and commissioned commercial and corporate offices in the late 20th century.”

It adds: “It is an important surviving example of an early open-plan office, which successfully employed the most up-to-date technologies in glazing to provide noise and environmental control.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which provides most of the funding for Historic England, said: “We have received a request to review the decision to list the British Sugar building.

“A decision will be made in due course.”

Peterborough Civic Society spokesman Kem Mehmed said: “It is disappointing that British Sugar could not accept the decision and find an alternative use for the building.

“I am optimistic that because the listing is so recent, it will be upheld.”