Posts Tagged ‘listed buildings’

Local man’s fight to keep World War II pillbox

Posted on Tuesday 3rd May 2016 at 9:22 pm by Nikki Hallur

Brian Hawkins pictured beside the WWII pill box near Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge that he is fighting to save.

Local resident, Brian Hawkins, told us of his struggle to keep the World War II pillbox that is likely to be demolished under the council’s Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) plan. The pillbox is a brick structure that was constructed for defence purposes during the Second World War; there were two near the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, and now only one stands. The CPME is an extension plan for the new MetroBus scheme that would run from Parkway Station to Cribbs Causeway. This is separate from the MetroBus plan for Bradley Stoke Way. For the replacement of the railway bridge, the council has proposed six new road designs. Brian says they seem to be in favour of ‘option 5’, which involves creating four traffic lanes, and that would mean removing the pillbox. Brian is passionate and determined that an alternative needs to be sought, even if it means transferring the pillbox to another location.

“There’s a place for history and a place for progress,” says Brian, who is now in his seventies and recalls losing his father to the Second World War when Brian was only five years old. As for this particular pillbox, Brian has done extensive research into its history and affirms that “it is not just a pile of bricks: it has an identity”. It was constructed in 1940-41 and remains unprotected, but is referenced on the PastScape website as Monument Number 1427609. Brian has tried to get this war structure registered on the Historic England website, but is facing some challenge because the box is padlocked and cannot be viewed inside, and also because its partnering pillbox (referenced 1422943) has already been “removed”, according to the council. Brian has also appealed to his local MP, Jack Lopresti, who has written to the council on his behalf. Despite all his efforts, the council has a preference for the road plan that would remove the pillbox. South Gloucestershire Council will report to its councillors about the CPME public consultation on 4th May; this report should include a statement about the pillbox.

More: Pillbox "gives history, depth and value to the community" »

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