SIR – I am a resident of Worcester and have lived peacefully in The Hopmarket since 1987 and am writing to object to the planned proposal to extend the Han Bao business into Sansome Street, which is directly opposite my residence.

 There is no question that the existing Toby’s Tavern site is derelict and run-down, however the proposal to demolish this and replace it with an ultra-modern construction is detrimental to this Historic Conservation area, and an environmental threat to residents living here.

 This should not be allowed on several grounds:  

1. The building proposed will clash visually with other structures in the area – creating a conflict of styles and ruining the atmosphere of an historic street.

I cannot see that a modern building composed of glass and black corrugated metal is in any way harmonious with the Victorian and Edwardian buildings which will surround it  Modernism produced some disastrous results in the 1960s here; let’s not have a repeat of these misguided activities.

 2. The noise from the proposed rooftop bar will be a persistent environmental nuisance – affecting the lives of those whose sleeping and living accommodation faces this street.

The plans indicate that up to 70 persons could be accommodated on the roof. The noise from this.. added to piped music will be intolerable for residents.

Music was occasionally audible from Toby’s Tavern when there was a gig, and Hoppers Bar before this – however this was noise from inside a building, not outside on a roof terrace.

3. The safety of patrons will be at risk, due to the volume of traffic on this road, the narrow street and the speed at which traffic moves when the traffic lights on The Butts change.

It is also a major bus route and loading/offloading area  -which will be adjacent to the proposed Sansome Street entrance.

4. There are far too many burger-style restaurants in the town now. Four new burger establishments have appeared in just the last few months.

I am not criticising Han Bao – which I am sure is a very professional outfit; it takes real nerve to expand a business, in which there is numerous and stiff competition - in a country which is heading for higher interest-rates and the massive uncertainty of Brexit - however I do feel that their proposal takes no account whatsoever of the wider existential concerns of local residents’ lives, and the long-term historical heritage of this beautiful city.

In 100 years’ time people will still be admiring the Hopmarket. I don’t think this structure proposed will last beyond 20.

In the meantime it will get steadily dirty from traffic and pollution and end up looking like the Bull Ring in Birmingham. It looked fantastic in the 1961 brochure - but within a few years it became very unsightly.

Modern buildings do not age well (not unless they are made of brick or pollution-resistant rendering).

 I am not stuck in the past, and I admire anyone who has ambition to grow a business.

Han Bao are no exception to this. But I think a more sympathetic architectural re-think is required before these plans are allowed to proceed.

And the rooftop element should not be allowed.

 Long-term environmental considerations are surely more important than short-term profit-making?

Andrew R Jeff