Call to halt demolition plans for more information

Bognor councillor Matt Stanley
Bognor councillor Matt Stanley

Demolition plans for a prominent Bognor Regis building should not be approved until more details are published, according to one councillor.

Arun District Council is considering developer B5 Ltd’s application to knock down 2-4 Waterloo Square, citing the poor and unsafe condition of the structure.

ks180380-1 Bognor 2-4 Waterloo Square

ks180380-1 Bognor 2-4 Waterloo Square

If approved this could lead to the redevelopment of the site along with the plot to the south, vacant since being cleared after a serious fire.

The same company has separate plans awaiting a decision to convert the former arcade site next door into shops, cafes and a drinking establishment.

When the demolition plans for the empty and dilapidated site were revealed, Observer readers came out in favour of keeping the ‘stylish’ building as they argued it should be converted and refurbished.

This week Matt Stanley, a Lib Dem town and district councillor, lodged an objection to the application.

He said: “I am very aware of the challenges in the area and I am supportive and keen to see regeneration happen. Due to the fact the building is in a conversation area I believe it is essential any regeneration is sympathetic to the history of the area and every opportunity to preserve heritage is fully explored.”

Mr Stanley suggested work done on heritage for the application is for the sole purpose of supporting the demolition and called for ‘robust, objective consultation on the subject of heritage’.

He also asked for financial information to back up the developer’s claim the option to save the building is uneconomical.

His objection highlighted that while photographic evidence demonstrates a large amount of work is required to bring the building back to the standard it should be at if the freeholder and leaseholders had acted correctly, demolition ‘should not be used as an easy answer to absolve responsibility’.

He called for a more in-depth survey of the building, pointed out the plans were for demolition only and not to regenerate or redevelop the site and even if only the facade of the building could be saved felt this was something that required consideration.