De-listing seafront eyesore shows 'depressing lack of vision'
PROPOSALS to get the dilapidated Royal Pier Hotel in Clevedon de-listed by English Heritage have been blasted by one of those responsible for getting it listed in the first place.
Julia Elton, of Clevedon Court, is president of Clevedon Civic Society which fought to get the hotel listed in 2001.
Clevedon Town Council believes its Grade-II listed status has made it harder for developers to regenerate the eyesore and voted earlier this month to investigate the possibility of it being de-listed.
Lady Elton, the deputy Lord Lieutenant on Somerset, said: "The hotel was listed Grade II in 2001 in recognition of its architectural merit and also because it is an integral part of the immediate environment of the Grade I Pier.
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"Its listed status prevents its wholesale demolition, protecting both the conservation area and the pier from the kind of redevelopment scheme which horrified thousands of people six years ago.
"The existing planning consent expires in September this year, when the value of the building will immediately drop to a level more attractive to buyers.
"A delisting application, which takes at least six months to process, could well hold off potential purchasers who will wait to see if it is possible to get the building cheap, tear it down and redevelop the site.
"Getting a building delisted is difficult, particularly when its listing is recent, and it is likely that all the town council will achieve by its motion is further delay."
She added the building was in better structural condition than many people think.
She said: "The building looks much worse than it is, largely due to its broken windows and the small area of fire-damaged roof.
"However, old masonry buildings are well built and robust.
"The main structure is still sound and could be restored and reused if the price was right.
"Sometimes planning cases take a long time to resolve successfully.
"It took 30 years to restore Clevedon Pier and throughout this period some town councillors demonstrated a depressing lack of vision, making comments similar to those now being made about the hotel."
North Somerset Council's north area committee will consider Clevedon Town Council's bid to get the hotel de-listed at its June meeting.
* For more on the Royal Pier Hotel see Mercury Mailbag, page 23.
*For a timeline of how the Royal Pier Hotel became a blot on the seafront read this story on our website, www.thisisclevedon.co.uk.