A prime London estate agent has described the demolition of one of the oldest buildings on Goods Station Road as ‘sickening’.
Patrick Moss said Belgrave Lodge is a ‘beautiful’ example of period architecture and that its removal risks blighting a street which he says already has a bad reputation.
Developers were given permission in June to demolish the building and develop the land behind, known as John Jarvis Yard, which currently contains workshops.
Mr Moss said: “It could have been a spectacular period building with an abundance of character and this road is in need of culture.
“It needs its character to be restored not knocked down, and this is one of the only buildings of its type on the road.”
Recent reports of Goods Station Road having one of the highest crime rates in Tunbridge Wells makes it all the more vital to ensure the street appeared a desirable place to live, he added.
Mr Moss said that when work started on site, he believed the building would be unaffected.
He said: “I thought ‘great, they’re leaving it’. But when I saw them start to knock it down, I was absolutely disgusted and sickened. I called the council and they said they had given the go-ahead for demolition.”
Belgrave House, at number 46 Goods Station Road, had previously been used as an office for building firm John Jarvis Ltd.
But Bromley-based developer Galamast Construction lodged an application in August 2014 to demolish the building and develop the land.
The plans involve the construction of five two-bedroom, five three-bedroom and four four-bedroom houses, alongside three refurbished units, on the 0.3-acre site.
No new affordable housing has been proposed, and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council documents confirm both its own assessment, and an independent review, had shown the provision of such housing to be ‘unviable’.
A spokesman for TWBC said: “The buildings were demolished in order that the residential development could go ahead. The planning application for the site was subject to the full scrutiny of the planning process which included a consultation period for people to give their views.”
Galamast Construction were unavailable for comment.