Bognor Regis building earmarked for demolition ‘could put lives at risk’

ks180380-2 Bognor Waterloo Square  phot kate The houses in Waterloo Sqare now boarded up.ks180380-2 SUS-180708-214717008
ks180380-2 Bognor Waterloo Square phot kate The houses in Waterloo Sqare now boarded up.ks180380-2 SUS-180708-214717008

A Bognor Regis building earmarked for demolition is in a ‘very dangerous state’ and ‘could put lives at risk should it fail without warning’, a developer has warned.

B5 Ltd wants to knock down 2-4 Waterloo Square, citing the poor and unsafe condition of the structure and has submitted plans to Arun District Council.

The application has yet to be determined but the agent for the scheme HJ Concepts wrote to officers earlier this month asking for a decision to be expedited.

In an email the agent said: “I do not feel that Arun are taking the situation seriously.”

They added: “Buildings like everything else have a functional life span and if not maintained will fail to be of any use, and in fact become a danger to the public and wider community.

“We see many structures and this is one is giving us cause for concern.

“It is in a very public space and could put lives at risk should it fail without warning. Should this building collapse due to non-action on the part of Arun DC then we and the applicant cannot be held responsible.”

Council officers then asked the agent to submit further information as to the condition of the building.

A number of photographs of the interior and exterior were then provided.

The agent continued: “These buildings are now in a very dangerous state and require demolition to ensure the safety of the public and surrounding structures.

“Due to the visual condition of the exposed structural steelwork, the exposed decayed timberwork and the cracking within the render finish plus the overall condition of the buildings, it is our opinion that the structure is not in a safe and stable condition and demolition should not be delayed. We cannot say for sure when they will collapse, but collapse they will and it will only take one single element to fail for this to occur.”

A council spokesman said: “Arun District Council is taking the safety of the site very seriously. The site has been recently visited by building control and an engineer who carried out an inspection of the building. 

“The situation continues to be monitored, and if there is any visible deterioration in the structural integrity of the building, appropriate action will be taken.”

Last week Bognor Regis Town Council voted to object to the application, withdrawing a previous representation of no objection.

Matt Stanley, a Lib Dem district and town councillor, said: “When considering the demolition of a historically important building in a conservation area, we need to ensure that all options to preserve heritage are fully explored.

“I do not feel it is unreasonable to ask for evidence to back up claims that the building is beyond saving or that it is not economically viable. At this stage that is all that’s being asked for.”

The neighbouring plot, facing the seafront, is currently empty following the serious fire at the Beach Hotel Restaurant in November 2016.

Meanwhile the same developer has another application pending to convert the former arcade site next door into shops, cafes and a drinking establishment.