National backing for Belmont Lodge

A NATIONAL historical society has urged a council to protect a building set to be demolished.

The Georgian Group said it wanted to see Belmont Lodge at least partly kept, in spite of the outline planning permission granted last November to replace it with 13 two-bedroom flats.

David McKinstry is the group’s caseworker for London, southern and south western England and the West Midlands.

He said Arun District Council’s decision to allow the lodge to be demolished was regrettable.

“We ask that urgent consideration is given to adding the building to the local list in recognition of its value to the streetscape, its architectural value as a rare survival in Bognor of an early 19th-century villa and its historical value, both as a building with Rossetti connections, which are recorded on a plaque, and as a tangible reminder of Bognor’s first manifestation as a holiday resort,” said Mr McKinistry.

“We also realise that the building was turned down for national listing in 2010 on account of the degree of interior alteration.

“However, the facade, which is typical of the building type and period, has in our view significant townscape value and is sufficiently rare in Bognor for inclusion on the local list to be justified.”

The level of support for Belmont Lodge was evident when the latest application to demolish it was considered, Mr McKinistry said.

“The group, as the national charity for the protection of Georgian buildings, fully endorses their judgment that the building is worthy of preservation.

“Conceivably, the building could be redeveloped behind the facade, although any new build would need to respect the scale and massing of the historic building,” he said.