DEMOLITION of an historic Bognor Regency terrace, with links to one of the most famous painters of the 19th century has been put on hold for further discussions following a row about plans to replace it with a three-storey block of flats.
Although Belmont Lodge, in Belmont Street, had been used as solicitors’ officers for a number of years, it was one the home of acclaimed artist William Shakespeare Burton, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti used an adjacent one-storey coach house for painting. Artist and illustrator Rosetti was one of the most prominent members of the pre-Raphaelite movement.
Councillors last week ignored advice by planning officers to allow demolition of the terrace, which comprises Belmont Lodge and two associated properties, and insisted that there should be new designs for the proposed block of flats.
Because the building have been changed to business use, the terrace has no protection from the Heritage Trust.
Committee vice-chairman Jean Goad described the Regency lodge as ‘ a very pleasing building’ and said she believed it would be almost wanton vandalism to destroy it.
Fellow councillor Syliva Olliver agreed and lamented the loss of buildings of character in Bognor.
Bognor Regis Town Council member Pat Dillon believed the proposed building was out of keeping with the surrounding area. She said the town council believed it would be detrimental to that particular site.
A protest was also made by the Bognor Regis Task Force about the loss of employment space.
The application for outline planning permission to replace the lodge with 13 two-bedroom flats had been made by Henry Adams Planning.
The company has produced an art deco design for a three-storey building but outline approval establishes the principle of development while it leaves the details of a scheme to be decided later.
Planning officer Jonathan Parsons said: “The scale and extent of the building is considered to be in keeping with this location.
“It is a built-up location in the town centre. The illustrative plans show a design and appearance in keeping with other developments in the surrounding area.”
Nikolas Antoniou, Arun’s head of development control, said talks with Henry Adams Planning had now reduced the scale of the development from 22 flats to only 13. In addition Belmont Lodge had no legal protection because its historic significance had been lost over the years. English Heritage had recommended the Rossetti link could be preserved by moving the current blue plaque to the new building.
The proposed redevelopment would provide homes close to the town centre on a site already in use.