UK’s oldest car factor to be demolished

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By Andrea McCallum

BRITAIN’S oldest car factory is on the brink of demolition after developers did a u-turn on its future.

The Madelvic car factory has stood in Edinburgh’s Granton Park Avenue since 1899 and was built to make electric vehicles.

It is thought to be one of the oldest surviving purpose-built car factories in the world.

But now its developers – Buredi – have asked for permission to flatten the B-listed building.

The site was threatened with a bulldozer in 2008 but it was saved when Buredi pulled their application.

Historic Scotland and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) have opposed the move.

City council planning officers have submitted a report to go before tomorrows meeting of the development management sub-committee.

They said: “There is a compelling argument to retain the building based on its existing condition and its historical and cultural associations, but it is accepted that should the building be retained intact, it would appear impossible to advance proposals for the redevelopment of the wider site.

“The building would remain unoccupied indefinitely and fall into further disrepair, whilst the remainder of the site remain undeveloped as a gap site blighting the redevelopment of Granton,”

Historic Scotland said: “The Madelvic’s production blocks are an important reminder of Edinburgh’s industrial heritage, with a wider historical interest as the earliest surviving motor works in the UK.

“We believe that they represent an opportunity to retain and reuse a historic building.”

Euan Leitch, spokesman for the AHSS, said: “If the council give consent, it will be the tenth listed building that the council have given permission to demolish in just over the two years.

“That’s a trend that I would be concerned about. In virtually all these, the economic argument has been the most powerful argument with regard to demolition.”

But Forth Councillor Allan Jackson is backing the demolition.

He said: “It’s an old, old brick thing falling to bits and the only reason it is listed is because of its connection with the car factory.

“There’s nothing in the building itself of any historic interest to anybody, so any about-turn which means it could be demolished is really to be welcomed.

“It’s the best way forward for this area.”

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