CONSERVATIONISTS are celebrating after the building which was the town’s main post office for nearly 150 years was given protected historic status.
Concern for its future emerged after Post Office bosses revealed the Priory Terrace building would be put on the market following the relocation of the town’s branch in December.
Desperate to protect it from harmful development, Leamington Society member Marianne Pitts submitted an application for listing to English Heritage.
And on Tuesday (March 18), it was announced the purpose-built Victorian building had been granted Grade II listed status – meaning any development will need to follow strict guidelines.
Speaking to the Observer, she said: “I’m very pleased the building has been given listed status. It completes the circle now as everything around there – Victoria Terrace and the Parish Church for example – is listed.
“It’s a rather handsome building and it’s an important building in Leamington, which itself is a very pretty Victorian town.
“It was important to protect it and allow it to remain in keeping with the area so I’m delighted it has worked out.”
The building was one of several designed by architect James Williams at a time of great expansion for the Post Office between 1840 and 1913.
It opened in March 1870 and was Leamington’s head office until last December’s move to the Spar supermarket on Bath Street.
Officers from English Heritage inspected the site in December and drafted a report to see whether the limestone clad building had the required “special architectural or historic interest.”
And following a consultation period, after which a recommendation was made to Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the building was added to the list of ‘Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest’.
An English Heritage spokesman said: “The former post office and Royal Mail office meets the criteria for listing as a good quality and well-detailed late 19th century former post office and includes a number of surviving original internal features.
“It is attributed to James Williams, a prolific post office architect who was responsible for a number of listed post offices with which the Royal Leamington Spa building compares well.”
The 1970s sorting office and vehicle depot block behind the former post office is not included in the listing.
Post Office bosses have yet to confirm whether or not they plan to sell the building.