Anger over plans to demolish former Spencers restaurant in Emsworth

The site of the former Spencers restaurant in Emsworth
The site of the former Spencers restaurant in Emsworth

A former Emsworth restaurant could be given a new lease of life - but it is causing concern among residents.

A planning application has been submitted to demolish the former Spencer’s Restaurant at 36-38 in North Street, and rebuild in its place a two-storey restaurant.

However not all residents and business owners are happy with the plans.

Chichester resident Laura Nix works in North Street.

Objecting to the proposals, she said: “Spencer’s is an iconic building in the town, its heritage should be looked after not demolished.

“It’s buildings like this that give Emsworth character making people want to visit our town.”

Dr Gordon Braddock added: “I believe the character of North Street should be retained.

“The frontage of the old Spencers restaurant is in character with this part of North Street but a new building may/will not be.

“I am not against the property being retained as a restaurant but I feel the front should not be changed.”

Another resident said demolishing the building would be ‘historical desecration and nothing but a ploy to reduce costs’.

Maria Bradbury said: “North Street is an important part of the town, which reflects the town’s growth in the 19th century and still has some historic character which should not be destroyed, for once demolished, this building’s history can never be replaced.”

However the principal designer on the project said the condition of the existing building raised concerns over how safe it would be to refurbish and extend the building in its present condition. It would be safer and more effective if the building were demolished and completely rebuilt, we would then be in a position to control the risks and eliminate hazards as the works progress.”

The structural engineer behind the plans added: “I cannot see there is a safe method to retain the front and side elevations, whilst demolishing the remainder of the building. The risk of injury from collapse of these tall masonry walls, to the adjacent occupants, the public and the site operatives is high.

“I would therefore strongly suggest that the building is completely demolished and rebuilt.”

Emsworth resident Michael Bolt said the application had a number of ‘undesirable features’.

He added: “The existing building was constructed in c1805. In 1811 it was reported that there were only 284 houses in Emsworth, this makes it one of the earliest surviving Emsworth buildings.”

View the planning application here

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