Historic villa residents are up in arms after the council told them they’d need an eviction notice to remove homeless people who set up a tent in their front garden.
Resident Robin Biggs claims two men and a dog moved onto the communal patch of garden outside the Grade II* listed building in March.
He says they have squashed a flowerbed that had been recently renovated at a cost of £100 to the building’s tenants.
But council officials say they have to serve an eviction notice on the squatters to get rid of them.
And another tent has also been pitched up in recent weeks, Mr Biggs says.
Mr Biggs said: “I was absolutely devastated. I thought my wife was joking when she told me.”
“All we were doing was trying to make it look beautiful to anyone in the car park or on Brighton Road. Is that a crime?
“I want the tents removed before there are more, and the land tidied up again.
“I would also suggest some sort of railing with a gate around the area so it can stop them coming in.
“They just dump their rubbish everywhere. They are just not tidy.”
Beach House in Worthing, West Sussex, was built in 1820 for the Chief Magistrate of Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in east London, Sir Frederick Adair Roe.
Originally known as Marino Mansion, the stately home has a history of hosting glamorous visitors including royalty but has since been divided into flats.
Worthing Borough Council say the squatters have now been visited by a welfare team and it is now progressing with a notice to evict them.
Beach House, which has three acres of grounds surrounding it, was designed by local architect John Rebecca and built in the mid-nineteenth century.
Its owner Sir Frederick also headed London’s first professional police force, the Bow Street Runners.
Conservative MP for New Shoreham Sir Robert Loder later bought the property and lived there until his death in 1888 – leaving the mansion to his son Sir Edmund.
King Edward VII stayed at the house several times between 1907 and 1910 to visit Sir Edmund before the villa was sold again in 1917 to playwright Edward Knoblock.
It was bought by Worthing Borough Council in December 1927 and has a playground, two tennis courts and a car park. Beach House Park, found opposite, is one of the world’s best-known venues for bowls.
In 1936 Beach House was used to house children evacuated from their homes in Guernica, situated in the Basque province of Biscay, during the Spanish Civil war.
And during the Second World War, Beach House was used by the Air Training Corps.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The council is aware of the tents on Beach House Grounds and, following a visit from a welfare team, is progressing with a notice to evict.”