Townhouse development plan keeps Art Deco façade

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According to plans submitted by Castletree Group on behalf of Peter Le Fol Du Taillis, if the application is approved it is envisaged that the 1930s Art Deco façade of the building would be retained with similarly styled balconies being added.

The proposed residential development – made up of six studio, 12 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments – would then be built within the central core of the site.

It follows a similar development further up the street where the former 1937 Playhouse Theatre – which closed in 1963 – was converted into 30 apartments in 2006 with the original façade being retained. The same technique has also been used on the former Southampton Hotel at the Weighbridge – now home to The Square restaurant.

According to a heritage impact statement compiled by CAMplan, the Townhouse pub building initially served as the home of JF Vautier Wine Warehouse and was designed by Arthur Grayson, who was also the architect for the modernist private house Les Lumières on Route Orange and the remodelling of St Matthew’s Church (the Glass Church) in St Lawrence. During the design of the church, Mr Grayson worked alongside René Lalique, a celebrated glasswork artist.

It is thought Mr Lalique may have contributed to the design of glass doors installed in the pub building but this has not been confirmed. The statement said: ‘Grayson met Lalique in 1934 and visited his workshop whilst working on St Matthew’s Church, so it is not inconceivable that they collaborated on the Vautier project. “T” existing doors are almost certainly replacements in the style of Lalique. The doorway was certainly integral to the design.

‘One fragment of a clue to the provenance of the original doors might be in the specification quotation which lists the main entrance doors as costing £40 – equivalent to about £3,000 in the present – and the whole of the rest of the fenestration at £60. It is not clear whether this cost included glazing.’

The author of the statement adds that the development would have a ‘neutral’ impact on the building’s façade and that an objection to the application on the grounds of harm to a historic building would not be justified.

It adds: ‘By virtue of contrast, the character and appearance of the listed building would be enhanced. The Grayson element will continue to be the dominant feature in the street scene, at eye level.’

The Townhouse pub building was formerly home to Ruby’s Lounge restaurant before closing for good.

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