Plans to renovate one of Worthing's most historic hotels have been approved by councillors.
Beechwood Hall, in Wykeham Road, is set to be converted into a 10-bedroom hotel by hospitality chain Brewhouse and Kitchen, subject to legal conditions being agreed.
The rear of the 1830s building will be extended to accommodate a new dining area and the inside will be reconfigured to include a functioning micro-brewery, as well as a new bar and seating area.
Some concerns were raised from residents that the work risked damaging the historic architecture, but an officer's report concluded any benefits would outweigh 'slight harm' the renovation could cause.
Beechwood Hall owner outlines vision for new Worthing pub
"Most of the proposals would not harm the special architecture or historic interests of the property," the report said.
"They would maintain the essential character and heritage significance of the property while minimising harm to its special architecture and historic interests.
"It improves the quality and value of the heritage asset."
As the building was slowly falling into disrepair, the report also argued work was necessary to keep it operating as a business and preserving its place in the town.
It said the proposed alterations would help Brewhouse and Kitchen create a sustainable business which would increase Worthing’s attractiveness as a tourist destination by providing much needed accommodation for visitors and contribute towards the night time economy by improving the pub and restaurant facilities.
The choice and options for not only visitors but long-standing residents of Worthing would be increased, said the report.
Labour councillor Jim Deen sits on the Worthing Borough Council planning committee, which approved the plans at a meeting on Wednesday (July 24).
He said he was delighted to have given the go-ahead to the 'exciting' new pub.
“It was originally two cottages built in the grounds of Park Crescent and what is now Amelia Park and was only converted to an hotel in the 1930s," he said.
"Since then it has passed through a number of owners and over recent years it has been sadly neglected. I’ve been highly critical of planners and those on the Councils in 1960s and 70s who destroyed so many fine old buildings in Worthing in the name of ‘progress’.
!I was very keen that future generations wouldn’t look back at us and wonder why we didn’t protect this fine building.
“But I was also keenly aware that we had a responsibility to make sure that the building was brought back into use and this seemed like the ideal option. It was clear to me that Brewhouse and Kitchen understood the historic importance of the building and they’ve clearly worked hard with planners to retain features that are important parts of the early fabric of the building and are removing other unsightly additions from more recent years.
“The result will be a rejuvenated historic building, in well-maintained grounds and an excellent new social venue for Worthing residents.”