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Council backs plan to make developer rebuild demolished pub

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Westminster City Council has agreed to back an enforcement order which calls for a property firm to rebuild an exact replica of a pub it demolished without permission

A meeting of planning committee members last night (5 May) approved proposals from the authority’s director of planning that would see enforcement action taken to require the owners of the Carlton Tavern in Kilburn to rebuild the structure, which was demolished on 8 April.

Just one week earlier English Heritage had written to Westminster planning officers, advising them that it was submitting an urgent listing bid for the pub to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, citing its architectural merit as an inter-war pub. A hearing was understood to be scheduled later that week.

A report to last night’s meeting said the Carlton was designed in 1920-1 by Frank J Potter for the brewery Charringtons to replace a previous pub on the site that destroyed by a zeppelin raid in 1918.

According to last night’s decision, an order giving the owners of the pub 18 months to rebuild an exact replica will be drawn up, subject to confirmation from the secretary of state that the listing application would have been successful.

Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour group on Westminster City Council, said the decision was ‘great news’.

An application for the pub’s demolition and replacement with a mixed-use scheme including ground-floor retail and 10 apartments above was refused by the council in January on the grounds that its bulk, height and massing was detrimental to views from the neighbouring Maida Vale Conservation area.

Previous story (AJ 29.04.2015)

Developer could have to rebuild London pub brick by brick

Westminster City Council looks set to force the developer behind the demolition of an historic London pub to rebuild an exact replica on the site

On 8 April, the Carlton Tavern pub in Kilburn, which was due to be recommended for listing, was flattened without City of Westminster Council being informed.

Council officers have since prepared an enforcement notice which could see developer CTLX facing an order to restore the pub to its original condition within 18 months.

John Walker, director of planning at Westminster City Council, said: ‘Obviously, we cannot pre-empt any decision, but this shows how important the issue is to local residents and the council, and officers have worked hard to bring this to the committee as quickly as possible.

‘We are still liaising with Historic England and DCMS and the advice provided by them will help to determine the final course of action.’

The enforcement notice is subject to confirmation from the culture secretary that the building would have been listed. It is understood Historic England (formerly English Heritage) was poised to recommend the 1920s public house for listing.

A letter sent to the council by Historic England on 30 March – just over a week before the demolition – said that the heritage watchdog was treating the case as ‘urgent’.

The council report also revealed that it believes the demolition was in breach of amendments to protect historic pubs from demolition which came into force just two days before the demolition.

The new rules allow buildings under threat to be designated as protected ‘assets of community value’ before or after applications to demolish them are submitted.

A report by planning officers released this week also gave more details about the chain of events surrounding the demolition.

It said that, at 1pm on 8 March, calls to the council’s call centre and from a local councillor advised that demolition works were underway.

By the time a council planning enforcement officer arrived around an hour later, the building had been substantially demolished with only a side wall and a small part of the front elevation still standing.

The report said that the structure was in a dangerous condition. ‘It was clear that the building had been demolished with extreme haste without the usual precautions of hoardings, road closures, etc, and there was evidence that fixtures and fittings that had not been removed prior to the commencement of the demolition works.’

The report said that rubble on site is likely to contain fragments which are sufficiently intact to recreate details of the building including as internal joinery and plasterwork. However it said that sourcing external facing materials are likely to be expensive and time-consuming to procure.

Photos and old plans from archive stories could be used to guide the rebuilding process, the report added.

Westminster listed a number of previous cases in the borough where facsimile rebuilding has taken place, including another enforcement case at 48 Upper Grosvenor Street which is being restored following the unlawful destruction of its Art Deco mirrored interior.


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