Demolition bid over historic house fails

By Martin Neville

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Demolition bid over historic house fails

Hamlet Court, Cowes, was built in 1832 with an input from John Nash.

PLANS to demolish an historic seafront building at Cowes, which is thought to have been designed by John Nash, have been thrown out.

Members of the Isle of Wight Council’s planning sub committee were divided on proposals by BG Cowes Ltd to replace Hamlet Court, Queens Road, with 12 apartments in up to four storeys.

On the casting vote of the chairman, Cllr Richard Hollis, the plans were refused, against officer recommendation.

Although Hamlet Court is not a listed building, the committee heard it was built in 1832 as a marine villa with an input from John Nash but in the 1950s it was converted into seven apartments.

There was no objection from English Heritage, which said the building had been too substantially altered to qualify for listing, but both The Georgian Society and Save Britain’s Heritage raised concerns.

Cllr Roger Mazillius, speaking on behalf of the local member, said: "This building is a very important reminder of Cowes’s Regency past.

"Imagine that building in a good state of repair, it would be a fine example."

He also raised concerns about the impact on adjoining Lantern House, which would become detached under the plans.

Cllr Vanessa Churchman described the Cowes conservation area as an "absolute joke" and said the proposed building was "over-powering".

Cllr Paul Fuller disliked the "fake Georgian facade" but Cllr Arthur Taylor said the building, which had suffered significant distortion and structural damage, was past its useful life.

"I think if we were to turn this down and it went to appeal you will get the same result as the building next door (Vantage Point)," he said.

However, Cllr Hollis said: "I think this building is almost iconic. Hamlet Court is a heritage asset and so is the Squadron, which is virtually next door."



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by William Sykes

4th April 2013, at 09:33:13

The building is a real eyesore. If it is demolished, then no matter whether the new buildings are for social housing ( unlikely ) or another block of second home apartments the council needs to ensure that they are in keeping with the local area. Some of the carbuncles that have been erected along the front at Cowes look terrible.

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by Alan Hunter

3rd April 2013, at 09:06:35

If the building is past renovation then replace it with social housing; why should Cowes Seafront be entirely the domain of rich second home owners.

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by Paul Wainwright

3rd April 2013, at 06:33:00

I don't believe the council has the right to say no to a private owner who wishes to demolish this if it has no heritage or preservation order on it... sad though it might be to see it go. More to the point the planners should be very strict about the style, size and character of the new building that will replace it, ensuring it fits in with the neighbouring area.

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by Ann Reed

2nd April 2013, at 22:55:38

It's a delightful building,and the only reason it's dilapidated is because the developers who bought it, have left it to rot. Deliberately. I went in the building some 8 or 9 years ago to look at a flat that was becoming vacant. The lady living there at the time told me that she had asked the owners over and over to do basic repairs, but they did nothing. We all know why. So they can replace a building with character, with another block of characterless, bland modern carbuncles. Good for the Planning Committee. Make the owners make good, bring it back to its former glory.

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by Ashley Harcourt

2nd April 2013, at 22:23:58

I think we need to get things in context. Does forcing owners to keep an old, unlisted and dilapidated building in place really help 'islanders'? Can we really be led to believe that in keeping this building intact hordes of Island people can be helped with housing??? I appreciate that there is a housing shortage but surely the responsibility of 'social (see Jeremy Kyle show) housing' should lay with the people whelping down rather than those who want to get on with property they actually bother to work and pay (paid) for? Not all buildings that have survived the test of time need to be preserved just because they are 'old' and some ancient notable person once had a vague link to it? In this case a very tenuous link to a designer surely cannot be enough? Think about it.

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by James McAdder

2nd April 2013, at 12:42:11

Fawlty Towers

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by jan hickman

2nd April 2013, at 10:42:46

Same as frank James hospital....wait us out!

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by Mike Crowe

2nd April 2013, at 10:33:44

So what happens now?
Either .....
It goes to appeal and they win. The council then make it awkward when they apply for planning permission.
Or ................
The appeal is turned down and the place is left to rot and be vandalized.
And then? ..........
The Council will make them pull it down.

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by Julian Fry

2nd April 2013, at 09:52:43

It looks ugly.

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by jan hickman

2nd April 2013, at 08:59:44

Why not just rip it down..ooh more modern apartments for cowes week, just what we islanders need ...such a help when our kids have no places to find homes....and who needs heritage's only the past! Said very sarcastically! Thanks goodness planners through out the application to demolish....hold tight for the made the right decision here!

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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