A planning application for 46 retirement flats in Fitzalan Road, to include the demolition of the historic Swallow Brewery, was rejected last year.
Developer Renaissance Retirement announced its intention to appeal the decision but has faced criticism over attempts to replace the brewery, which is classed as a ‘locally important heritage asset’ in a review of the Arundel Neighbourhood Plan.
Affordable Housing Arundel (AHA!) has long opposed the scheme and called on Arun District Council to register the brewery as a locally listed building to give it protection.
“The Swallow Brewery was not only a significant business in the town, owned by one of its most prominent families, it was also one of the largest employers for over 100 years,” said a spokesman.
“Undoubtedly the Swallow Brewery is a very important part of the social and economic history of Arundel.”
AHA! said the council’s refusal to grant locally listed status constituted a ‘great failure’ that would greatly affect the rest of Arundel.
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The council had applied an Article 4 direction, designed to protect heritage buildings by forcing developers to apply for permission to demolish.
Only a small proportion of the original Swallow Brewery still stands – a point Renaissance Retirement said reduces its heritage value.
Renaissance Retirement’s Peter Tanner said: “Given the alterations to the building over time and the loss of fixtures and fittings linked to its earlier use, its significance as a heritage asset is limited. It's worthy to note the building in question is a very small remnant of the former Swallow Brewery complex, which further reduces its value in heritage terms."
“The site itself has, in any event, previously been identified for redevelopment with new homes in the Arundel Neighbourhood Plan. At that time, despite other buildings in Arundel having been identified in the neighbourhood Plan as being of local heritage interest, it is significant that this particular building was not identified as being of local interest but was earmarked for development."
While the Arundel Neighbourhood Plan does earmark the site for development, this is on the condition of it meeting the ‘over-riding housing objective’ and providing 30 percent affordable housing.
The application was originally rejected for failing to provide any affordable housing.
A council spokesman said it would review the list of local important buildings and added no appeal had yet been submitted.