A planning application has been submitted to Horsham District Council for the demolition of an historic town mill.
Prewetts Mill, in Worthing Road, could be knocked down and replaced with assisted living accommodation after developers McCarthy and Stone submitted an application to the council earlier this month to redevelop the old site.
The proposals put forward by the retirement property developer would see the current building torn down and replaced with 58 assisted living (Extra Care) apartments for people aged 70 and over.
Alongside theses apartments communal facilities would be created including a residents’ lounge and office for the house manager along with car parking spaces.
But concerns have been raised by residents in the area about the loss of the building.
Greg Hawkins, a resident of Homestream House, a private sheltered housing estate behind the proposed development, said he still believes the building is historically significant to people in the town and has heard a lot of comments from residents who want it to stay.
He said: “There are lots of points that are unclear in their proposals.
“I reckon there are a lot of people out there who also would not wish for it to be demolished.
“I have seen a lot of comments from people who do not want to see it go. ”
Mr Hawkins also raised concerns about parking in Mill Bay Lane next to the site.
In response to concerns about the loss of the building a representative for McCarthy and Stone said due to the amount of work that had been done to the site over the years, including the removal of its interior, the attachment to the neighbouring office block and the removal of the south east wall,the mill had lost a lot of character and integrity.
They added Horsham District Council had omitted the site from the local list of buildings of historic interest and it was for these reasons they felt there was scope for the building to be removed.
McCarthy and Stone first expressed an interest in the site back in October last year.
The developers held meetings with local residents and community representatives before hosting a public consultation event at the Drill Hall, in Denne Road, where more than 1,000 people were invited down to view the plans.
Concerns were raised by residents at these events over the loss of the old building and a piece of the town’s history.
A spokesman from McCarthy and Stone said: “We would like to thank those members of the community who took the time to give us their feedback on the proposals, which has helped us to refine and improve our plans before submitting the application.
“We’re very encouraged by the local feedback we’ve received and have strived to bring forward a scheme that will make a positive contribution to the character of Horsham.”
Back in September 2014 an application with prior approval to convert the buildings into 45 one and two-bedroom flats with a gym and cycle storage was submitted to council.
Prewetts Mill was built in 1861. The site around it was last redeveloped in the 1980s.