Dilapidated Waterloo Square buildings could be knocked down

Plans to demolish the buildings on the right have been submitted to Arun District Council
Plans to demolish the buildings on the right have been submitted to Arun District Council

Major changes could be underway in Bognor Regis’ Waterloo Square as developers have submitted plans to demolish vacant and dilapidated buildings.

Back in June an application was lodged with Arun District Council to convert the former arcade site into shops, cafes and a drinking establishment.

Now the same developer B5 Ltd has submitted another application to demolish the buildings next door, citing the poor and unsafe condition of the structure.

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

According to documents submitted with the application the structure developers want to demolish is ‘not in a safe and stable condition and poses a threat to life’.

Consultants said: “We believe that the structure has past its useful life and any repair work to restore the building to a functional sustainable long-term enhancement to the area would be uneconomical.”

But Labour town councillor Jan Cosgrove believes the case for demolition requires greater scrutiny.

He said: “I’m inclined to ask how on earth did Arun District Council allow a sub-tenant to let it get to this state.”

He described the site as a key visual impact area of the seafront.

Previously the council has described how since it lets the site out on a long lease it has no responsibility for maintenance, repair and upkeep of the premises.

The application was discussed by Bognor Regis Town Council’s planning and licensing committee on Tuesday night.

Discussion centred around what could potentially replace the buildings.

Jeanette Warr, chair of the committee, suggested new developments had ‘stripped us of everything that has any character in the town’.

The committee decided not to object but called on any future redevelopment scheme to reflect the character and style of the surrounding area.

Councillors also suggested the developers should engage with the town council early on in the design process and run ideas past them before submitting plans.

To comment on the application visit Arun’s website using code BR/191/18/PL.