BULLDOZERS have begun to demolish a town’s oldest building.
Despite pleas to save Swiss Cottage from the wrecking ball, permission to raze the 200-year-old building was given to turn it, and the building next door, into 14 flats and office space.
I think it’s a great shame that a building of such attractiveness and character, that is part of Waterlooville’s history, is going.Michael Morris
Supporters of the property, in St George’s Walk, Waterlooville, have spoken of their sadness.
Michael Morris is an architect who lives close to Swiss Cottage.
He said: ‘I think it’s a great shame that a building of such attractiveness and character, that is part of Waterlooville’s history, is going.
‘I see no reason why they could not have built around it.
‘If it had been in Chichester, Petersfield or Hambledon there is no way in the world that building would have been demolished.
‘I think there is a certain attitude that Waterlooville is a place of no style or interest and any building can be demolished. It is unfair and unreasonable.’
The hands of Havant Borough Council’s planning committee were tied in July when permission was sought to knock Swiss Cottage down. Planning permission was given for a similar development in 2013.
It meant the committee did not have grounds to turn down the plans to replace Swiss Cottage, and the adjacent building, into a single, four-storey block with 14 flats and office space.
David Crichton, chairman of Waterlooville Community Forum, said: ‘It’s a very sad situation. It’s a clash between trying to preserve the local heritage and the practicalities of doing so.
‘It’s a situation where we probably ought to have done something a long time before it got to this stage.
‘While I sympathise with the people trying to preserve it, it’s quite clear that restoring it would have been incredibly expensive because it was so dilapidated.
‘It’s a shame because Swiss Cottage was the last bit of old history we had left.’