Row over plans for signage on historic building in Emsworth

A ROW has broken out over whether two large signs can be put on one of the oldest buildings in a town.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 6:48 am
The proposed images submitted to Havant Borough Council for the signs on Havant Road, Emsworth. Some residents are objecting as it is one of the town's oldest buildings

Plans have been submitted to Havant Borough Council for the signs on a dental practice in Havant Road, Emsworth.

The dentist at Envisage Dental has recently moved to the site and the plans state ‘it is important for his existing and new customers to quickly identify and find his premises’.

But some residents are objecting. Local historian Bob Smyth is concerned as the building is Grade II-listed, having been the former coachhouse and stables for the nearby Seafield House.

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Seafield House was built in 1834 in Mughal style by former Indian Army officer Colonel James A’hmuty.

From late Victorian times, Seafield House and its coachhouse were owned by Noel Kinnell, Emsworth’s leading early 20th century citizen until his death in 1927.

Owner of the Emsworth Brewery and chairman of Warblington Urban District Council, he donated the millpond to the town and bequeathed funds to build the sea wall.

Mr Smyth, of Malvern Mews, said: ‘The proposed sign two, while on a new brick wall, is so gross it would look excessive in a shopping mall.’

And his objection to the council added: ‘The listed building has a special importance as the north-western cornerstone of the Conservation Area from its historical associations and architectural features.’

Emsworth Residents’ Association also has concerns.

Charles Ashe, who deals with planning matters, said: ‘The concern is that it’s a very large and a very bright sign on a historic building in the conservation area.’

But chartered town planner Steve Lawrence, writing on behalf of the applicant to the council, said the signage had been ‘sensitively positioned’ and would ‘enliven a blank wall fronting the street’.

His letter added: ‘It is therefore considered that the character and appearance of the Emsworth Conservation Area and integrity of the host listed building would be preserved from the signage proposed.’

He said the sign would not be visible from the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.