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Concern over poor quality design for landmark Tenby site

The Victorian Society is worried that proposals to rebuild Tenby’s Royal Gatehouse Hotel include installing plastic windows on the front of the new building.

The Royal Gatehouse Hotel was badly damaged by fire in March 2008 and despite calls to restore and reconstruct the remains of the listed Victorian building, the historic hotel was pulled down just two months later.

'Grand nineteenth century buildings were important to the character of this part of Tenby. They had elegant proportions and detailing and we support their accurate rebuilding', said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'But it must be done properly and using uPVC windows is not only wrong but potentially damaging to the surrounding Conservation Area.'

The owner of the site has applied to build flats, a new hotel and shops in a major new development that involves rebuilding the Royal Gatehouse and the former Kent and Milford Houses. The proposal also includes demolishing all but the façade of the neighbouring Royal Playhouse Cinema.

'Keeping only the façade of a listed building is unacceptable except as a last resort. In this case the possibility of keeping and adapting this important Tenby building has not been fully explored.'

The Society is urging Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority to refuse permission for this application.

 Background

Built by J Thomson in 1857-8, the Royal Gatehouse Hotel was one of Tenby's largest and longest-serving hotels. A prominent landmark in the town, the five-storey, Grade II-listed building suffered extensive damage on the 22nd of March in a blaze which required more than 120 fire-fighters to bring it under control. Most of the interior of the hotel was lost but a considerable proportion of its street façade remained, prompting both the Victorian Society and the Georgian Group to call for the remaining structure to be restored and worked into a reconstruction.

Wednesday 9 June, 2010

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