Fresh bid made to remove studio of a famous artist

FRESH plans have been submitted to demolish former Regency houses in Bognor Regis which were used by a famous artist.

George Ide solicitors wants outline permission from Arun District Council to redevelop its offices in Belmont Street for 13 two-bedroom flats with parking.

The site – Belmont Lodge – has a garage in its grounds which was a one-storey coach house used occasionally by Dante Gabriel Rossetti when he lived in Aldwick from October, 1875, to July, 1876. His model, Janey, sat for the painting Venus Astarte during that time. He also worked on Blessed Damozel. His use of the coach house is marked by a blue heritage plaque. But there are no restrictions on the building’s redevelopment in spite of those links.

Cllr Francis Opper (LD, Orchard), an Arun district councillor, has told the council: “I am strongly opposed to this proposal.

“It will be the loss of yet another part of Bognor’s heritage.”

The current outline application is a repeat of one in 2010 which received planning permission from Arun District Council after two deferrals by reluctant councillors.

George Ide’s planning consultant, Dawn Appleton, said in a statement the premises comprise a terrace of three Regency properties.

“The premises are in use as solicitors’ offices and have been amalgamated into one building by means of internal alterations.

“The properties themselves are not listed due to the various unfortunate works that have been carried out in the past and the area is not designated as a conservation area.”

The current plans are the same as the previous ones, she adds, because the solicitors will be staying beyond the previous approval’s expiry in 2015.