Matters that concern maintaining the integrity of New Walk.
With support from the Friends very few properties facing onto New Walk now lack railings on their front boundaries. Those that do detract from the historical setting of the Walk and the Friends will continue to apply gentle encouragement to owners/occupiers to comply.
The intention is not to end op with a regimented uniformity of front boundaries (there is an established mix of styles and height, much of it softened by planting and brickwork); rather, the aim is to recognise as far as possible the integrity of the original New Walk.
New Walk would not be what it is without its trees. These are inspected regularly by the City Council and from time to time it is inevitable that diseased specimens, or those which through age pose a risk, are removed.
The Friends are consulted by the City Council whenever such action is proposed, and the affected trees identified. Where there is any doubt as to the need for removal/surgery the Friends have taken, and will continue to take, independent expert advice to explore viable alternatives. They are also consulted on replacement planting, and almost without exception such replacement is on a one for one basis.
The Friends are a consultee on any planning applications for development of new/change of use of existing buildings on New Walk.
Presented with plans for the development of the former day nursery site at 58 New Walk for a new city art gallery, while very supportive of the idea, the Friends opposed some of the detail of the proposal, including the plan to develop in front of the existing building line.That resulted in a more appropriate scheme, and although, in the event, it not proceed owing to the failure to secure funding, the intervention is indicative of effectiveness of the charity’s input.
Recently the Friends successfully opposed a planning application to extend an office parking area on New Walk and the removal of a boundary wall and railings.Elsewhere they have applied pressure on the City Council in respect of another redundant property. Becoming an increasingly obvious eyesore, and with it the increased risk of going the way of many other historically significant but empty buildings in the city (the latest being Friars Mill, consumed by fire in July of this year), private developers are now well advanced with a sympathetic scheme to convert it into private family housing.
The Friends monitor closely the licensing conditions attached to the pubs and restaurants at the city end of the Walk and is quick to draw the relevant authorities’ attention to any breaches. They have been successfully in opposing some extensions to opening hours sought by the operators.