Protesters bid to save historic Bognor building

Bognor resident Mary Herting campaigning to stop the demolition of Belmont Lodge.15LAJAN24b-1 PPP-150125-103909006
Bognor resident Mary Herting campaigning to stop the demolition of Belmont Lodge.15LAJAN24b-1 PPP-150125-103909006

PROTESTORS staged a last-ditch bid to save an historic building.

The 30 individuals gathered outside threatened Belmont Lodge, in Belmont Street, Bognor Regis.

Planning permission has been given to knock down the 19th century building and replace it with flats.

Mary Herting, 69, of The Avenue, who organised the protest last Saturday, said: “What I need to do now is to urge the owners to stop the demolition.

“I will ask them if they will be so kind as to at least keep the facade.

“This site is important because it is viewed from the seafront and it will be facing the regenerated site at the Regis Centre when that happens.

“This is what people who come to that site will be seeing.

“We don’t want them seeing yet more boring flats.

“We need to keep our heritage. It’s all we have got left in Bognor because 
we have lost so much.”

The protest was attended by the town’s MP, Nick Gibb, as well as councillors Francis Oppler, Paul Wells and Graham Jones.

Outline planning approval for Belmont Lodge’s demolition was granted by Arun District Council’s development control committee last November.

The permission established the principle of building 13 two-bedroom flats on the site following an earlier approval by the council in 2011 which had lapsed. Karl Roberts, Arun’s assistant director of planning and economic regeneration, told Mrs Herting: “I know there will be many who strongly disagree with the council’s decision.

“However, based on the relevant planning considerations, I believe the decision to approve was the correct one, if understandably not a popular one.”

He advised her to seek the help of the building’s owners to save it.

Belmont Lodge was built in a Regency style and first mentioned in 1861. Famous artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti stayed there from October 1875, to July 1876.

Fellow protestor Eileen Anderson, 71, has been in the town for 67 years. She said: “The developers can do what they want with the back of the building but we want the facade kept.

“We want to keep some recognition of old Bognor.”