Georgian buildings are a lot safer than they were, as a rule, but demolitions still happen. Here are nine that are likely to disappear in 2015 - and one has already gone, in spite of our and others' best efforts.
|Bognor Regis has few surviving Georgian buildings, so what is left has rarity value as well as architectural and historic interest. In late November, Arun District Council approved a scheme to replace Belmont Lodge (currently offices) with flats, despite forceful objections and the building’s links to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who occupied part of it in the 1870s. Listing was refused in 2010 but the option of local listing remains.Certainly some tangible acknowledgement should be made of the strength of local feeling, reflected in the remarks of several councillors on the planning committee. Cllr Ann Smee described Belmont Lodge as ‘one of the last jewels in the crown of Bognor’, Cllr Elaine Stainton said that it would be a ‘very sad day’ if the building went, adding that she had lived in Bognor all her life and seen many Victorian and Edwardian buildings pulled down. ‘It’s a very attractive building and I want to try and save it’. Cllr Barbara Oakley remarked that ‘we have so many ugly buildings in Bognor it seems a shame to lose one of the ones which is good to look at. It is elegant, graceful and an asset to Bognor.’ Cllr Simon McDougall observed that ‘the street scene in that road is very much that building. If you take that away, you take the street scene with it.’ An online petition is running with the objective of saving the building, notwithstanding the permission to demolish.|
In Yorkshire, we are speaking up for Rycliff (above), a substantial mid-seventeenth century gentleman’s farmhouse in the former mining village of Ryhill. It forms part of an important group with an extensive range of long-derelict late seventeenth and eighteenth century stone farm buildings which are separately listed at Grade II. Current plans, yet to be determined by the planning authority, involve complete demolition and replacement with housing. There are significant lacunae in the application, not least a failure to explain in any convincing way why the most significant parts of the complex could not be converted to new uses. Cawne Close, Wilshamstead, Bedfordshire (below) is an unassuming cottage, disused for several years and now in poor repair, with its immediate setting compromised by new development but nonetheless in the Bedford commuter belt and probably capable of attracting a sympathetic owner if marketed at a realistic price. The house is originally late seventeenth or early eighteenth century and was recased in brick in the early nineteenth century, when its interior was also remodelled. Despite its lengthy abandonment, it retains at least one large inglenook fireplace, batten doors, fire grates and a carved sixteenth century beam reputedly imported from the long-demolished Houghton Hall.
|Last but very much not least, consent has been granted for the total demolition of the former rectory at Bowers Gifford, near Basildon in Essex, in spite of our objections and a subsequent request for spotlisting, which was rejected partly on the curious grounds that 'the addition of mid-nineteenth century wings has resulted in an unbalanced, awkward façade at variance with the simple symmetry of the eighteenth century building'. It seems counter-intuitive to condemn the Georgian building on account of removable excrescences. The house sits on an early moated site and was in use as the rectory from at least the 1780s, later being converted to offices. It will now almost certainly be replaced by five houses. |
There are of course, plenty more buildings that we save, or where we stop damage in the first place by steering people towards better options at pre-planning stage. If you would like to help us protect buildings like the ones above, please join The Georgian Group - your support will be much appreciated.