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Decision Summary

This building has been assessed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest. The asset currently does not meet the criteria for listing. It is not listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended.

Name: Portland Council Offices

Reference Number: 1410906


Portland Town Council, Council Offices, Fortuneswell, Portland, DT5 1LW

The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Dorset
District Type: Unitary Authority
Parish: Portland

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Decision Date: 25-Jul-2012


Summary of Building

Purpose-built council offices in an Art Deco style situated in a prominent location. Constructed in 1934 for Portland Urban District Council, some late-C20 alterations.

Reasons for currently not Listing the Building

Portland Council Offices, built in 1934, is not designated for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: it has a well-crafted exterior, but the architectural design is not distinguished and has no particular significance for the evolution of this particular building type; * Alteration: the replacement of the windows in uPVC has significantly compromised the building; * Internal features: although some fixtures and fittings remain in a small number of rooms, including the Council Chamber, they are of a standard design and quality for the period.


Fortuneswell, originally known as Fortunes Well because it was established around a small watercourse, lies on steeply-sloping land and is the principal settlement on Portland. The council offices occupy a prominent position at the eastern end of the town, at the foot of the road linking the two communities of Tophill and Underhill. It was constructed in 1933-34 for Portland Urban District Council (now Portland Town Council).

The footprint of the building has remained as built, although there has been some late-C20 alteration including the loss of the original metal-framed windows, some internal sub-division, and the removal of some historic fittings.


MATERIALS: it is of Portland stone, probably steel framed, under a flat asphalt roof (not seen). The lower ground floor has rock-faced blocks; the rest of building is constructed of ashlar. The original metal-framed casements have been replaced with uPVC windows.

PLAN: rectangular on plan with a projecting entrance porch to the principal (north-east) elevation, accessed from a walled walkway.

EXTERIOR: the principal (south-east) elevation is a symmetrical façade of three storeys. The central entrance porch breaks forward and has a pair of doors with raised vertical panelling doors set within a channelled surround, above which is a geometric motif in stone relief. There is a central stair window with recessed surround above the porch. The windows to the flanking bays are set in vertical recessed panels that rise through both the first and second floors; below each of these windows is a rectangular panel containing a ventilation grille which has horizontal banding to the top and bottom and is flanked by a raised zig-zag motif. There is a plat band formed from squares in relief beneath the first-floors windows to all but the rear elevation. The three-storey right return is arranged as a series of recessed planes with symmetrically-placed windows to the first and ground floors. Ventilation grilles are set within decorative metal panels below the first and second floor windows. The five ground-floor windows have plain square-headed surrounds of stone. The opposing, south-east elevation is of the same design. The rear of the building is plainer with an irregular window arrangement; each has a plain stone surround. To the ground floor is a doorway with rectangular fanlight over.

INTERIOR: the entrance doors lead through to a small top-light vestibule, and a second pair of doors with horizontal glazing bars open onto a lobby. The open-well staircase is of reinforced concrete and has a solid balustrade and continuous moulded handrail. On the lower ground floor is a series of offices, as well as a mid-C20 metal fireproof safe; the parquet flooring also remains. To the first floor are several large rooms which have been sub-divided in recent years and are plain in terms of their fittings; some original plain architrave survive, but there are modern fire doors. At the head of the stairs is the rectangular Council Chamber which has distinctly Classical motifs with giant stylised pilasters to the walls and a compartmental plasterwork ceiling, and also some Moderne details in the metal-framed skylight which has decorative scrollwork to the sides, the original doors, their furniture and wide plain architrave. The adjacent Mayor's office retains its original door and has a picture rail but no other period fittings.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURE: to the front and south-west is a low boundary wall of coursed, dressed stone with chamfered coping stones. There is a pair of ashlar gate piers to the entrance and gate piers to the right flanking a driveway to the side of the building, all in the Art Deco style.

Selected Sources



National Grid Reference: SY6891173260

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This copy shows the entry on 02-Dec-2021 at 09:51:09.