A CONSERVATIONIST has compared the demolition of a 250-year-old building in the centre of Brighton to the brutal removal of a passenger from a United Airlines plane.

Nick Tyson, from The Regency Town House heritage centre, has bemoaned the loss of the “important and irreplaceable” Timpson shop in North Street, Brighton.

The shop, considered to be the oldest commercial building in the city in continuous use, has been removed from North Street to create a new £8 million Lane.

Land owners Redevco said the removal was necessary to allow an even older and more historically valuable building, Puget’s Cottage, to be fully revealed from behind the shop for the first time in 140 years.

Puget’s Cottage is reckoned to be the oldest building in central Brighton, after St Nicholas of Myra Church in Dyke Road.

Work on creating Hanningtons Lane is expected to be completed next summer, with sought-after London retailers promised for the new shopping area.

Mr Tyson said the demolished grade II-listed shop was one of the oldest and most important buildings in North Street.

It was built at the end of the 18th century as the town was becoming a fashionable resort.

Developers had sought alternative routes for the new Lane after planning consent was granted in September 2015 but no other routes were deemed viable.

Mr Tyson praised the building’s use of mathematical tiles over a timber frame, describing it as an important method of construction which helped to elevate the status of Georgian Brighton beyond that of a fishing town. The construction also allowed builders to gentrify old property and erect new buildings at relatively low cost.

He added: “Timpson’s is not a grand building but it is an important and irreplaceable component of the Brighton story. It is a tragedy that the building is now being ripped down with the permission of Brighton and Hove City Council and Historic England.

“Shortly after United Airlines recent ‘mistake’, the company apologised for the deficiencies in its thinking and the inappropriate action that followed.

“Perhaps one day the people of Brighton and Hove will receive a similar type of apology regarding the loss of Timpson’s – another instance of a valuable asset being thrown recklessly to the ground.”

Andrew Foulds, Redevco portfolio director, said: “Our master plan approach should provide a catalyst for the whole area.

“The new Lane will provide contemporary spaces that retailers can’t find elsewhere, which will draw new names in and create a destination that helps support existing businesses. We have demolished a building at the rear of the site and reconfigured some existing space, but the demolition of Timpson’s is an exciting milestone in the development programme.”