AN application to carry out temporary repairs to Parnham House in Beaminster has bolstered hopes it will be rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in April.

On Monday Beaminster Town Councillors were considering the listed building application to put in a temporary spiral staircase in the ground floor corridor area that links the west stone paved terrace to the south of the accommodation wing.

Chairman Cllr Christopher said the tone of the application suggested an intent to rebuild at some stage and that was a good thing, even if it was only to be a 21st Century replica.

The application has been submitted by Bristol architect and historic building specialist consultant Purcell on behalf of the Treichls.

Michael Treichl had been questioned by police about the fire before he was found dead in Geneva in June.

The application - which was submitted before his death - is for a temporary spiral staircase to allow safe access to the first-floor areas of the staff accommodation wing which cannot be accessed internally due to the extent of fire damage.

If permission is granted the stair will be positioned on an existing modern concrete slab and a new opening will be required in the ceiling to the area directly above.

The design and access statement said this would involve the removal of historic floor joists and floorboards. 

It says: "Any historic fabric that is removed is to be documented, carefully stored and retained for the duration of the restoration works. 

"The temporary stair will then be removed following completion of the works with reinstatement of the retained building fabric.

"The positioning and type of stair that is proposed in the corridor, allows for a less invasive approach, with fewer historic elements required to be removed than would otherwise be required to some of the larger rooms.

"The extent of smoke and fire damage cannot be fully assessed in this area until further investigation has taken place.

"Safe access is paramount to ensuring that the historic buildings are carefully conserved and repaired.

"The siting of the stair has been carefully considered and it is felt that the approach is the least invasive.

"Parnham House is a building of high significance and the proposal seeks to ensure that the repair following the fire can be considerately and safely achieved."

Comments on the proposals can be submitted to West Dorset District Council until August 25.