Historic building repairs would run into £670,000

By David Newble

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Historic building repairs would run into £670,000

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.

Reporter: davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk


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Displaying the last 10 of 18 comments - Show All Comments

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by alan naylor

30th December 2013, at 02:21:54

Why has the council not made it a listed building and taken it under its wing if the building is that important to me it looks like a lot of gabled terraced houses ?????? ANSWER because it would not know what to do with it the building is obviously in a bad shape cold and damp and looks a mess please all scribes below tell me what you all would do with this ruin to be I am waiting and the cost of course

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by Stephen Elliott

27th December 2013, at 23:00:16

I'm sorry but my deleted comment was a legitimate argument!

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by John Lovell

27th December 2013, at 13:45:23

No real problem here.
Let developers build a new structure but require them to keep the seaward facing facade as is.
This was done in Croydon to Grants, a large department store. They demolished the building, but propped up the street-facing facade while building onto it from behind. It now remains in its original pristine historic condition. job done.

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by ann glazer

27th December 2013, at 12:02:31

Oh come on The Isle of Wight council the Georgian society and Save Britain's Heritage, it looks a dump. How do you think visitors view us when they see this buildings looking like this one

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by Mike Crowe

27th December 2013, at 11:22:30

Open space for the public?

Like this?



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by Stephen Elliott

27th December 2013, at 10:37:27

Here's a solution...no new building can exceed the current height and width specifications. If it does then the "new" building is torn back down and the site is handed over to the local authority to be turned in to a park so that children can play in a park beside the sea side...beside the sea!

This way the developers will consider the local area and te impact they have on it and build something appropriate.

If the "owners" leave the building abandoned because there pleading poverty etc then I would suggest the council claim the property.

Nothing overtly complicated by the planners.

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by roger mazillius

26th December 2013, at 20:40:21

I spoke for the local member (who was away) when this was heard by the Planning Committee and made the point about the importance of this building to the seafront scene approached from the sea.
It really is an historic and visibly important building linking Cowes to it's regency heritage.
The Committee agreed by a good majority that this building should not be demolished to build another tall block of flats, wiping away forever the history which this old building so well exemplified. Enough is enough!

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by Russell Palin

26th December 2013, at 17:21:59

I wonder could the developers find a solution that has the new building looking much the same as the one proposed for demolition' keeping the original facade?
Why four storys? can't they keep it the same height, all these higher rise propertys on the sea fronts display no local character whatsoever. It looks like some cheep unfinished Mediterranean packaged place does Sandown these days....

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by Den Young

26th December 2013, at 16:13:00

nice one Neil, ever thought of becoming a councillor?

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by Sumeyah Sallam

26th December 2013, at 15:57:41

David is right. The value of the land with a proposed development of that size means they would get out covering the value of the building with a handsome profit. The land alone with a four story development on the sea front would be worth around £ 1.6

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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