Hamlet Court, on Cowes seafront.
AN HISTORIC seafront building in Cowes, thought to have been designed by John Nash, would cost its owners £670,000 just to make it "look nice", a planning appeal was told.
However, three engineering reports commissioned by the building’s owners found Hamlet Court, in Queens Road, was built on unstable ground.
This would make repairs uneconomic and it would have to be demolished.
A controversial scheme by BG Cowes Ltd to replace Hamlet Court with a four-storey apartment block was thrown out by the Isle of Wight Council’s planning committee earlier this year.
Although the building was not listed, it was built in 1832 as a marine villa with an input from John Nash but in the Fifties, it was converted into seven apartments.
The appeal heard there had been no objection to the scheme from English Heritage, which had said the building had been too substantially altered to qualify for listing.
But The Georgian Society and Save Britain’s Heritage had raised concerns.
The Isle of Wight Council’s planning committee had rejected the project against officer recommendation, saying the building was a heritage asset.
Ken Dijksman, planning consultant with BG Cowes Ltd, urged the planning inspector to put aside the historic significance of the building as it was on unstable ground.
He said: "Our view, and it has not been challenged, is ground conditions are so serious this building would have to be reconstructed.
"It would cost £670,000 just so it gets into a state where it looks nice. Nobody is going to spend that sort of money. The figures just don’t add up."
Sarah Wilkinson from the Isle of Wight Council, told the hearing the building was important to the Cowes Conservation Area as so many other important buildings had been lost.
Planning inspector, Sukie Tamplin, said the appeal would first have to be referred to the government to see if an Environmental Impact Assessment was necessary.
The decision is likely to be made early next year.