Thursday, 11 April 2013

1832 marine villa in Cowes IOW saved from demolition

From the Isle of Wight County Press 28 March 2013

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 Group 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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