Updated Mar 13, 2023

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Demolished grade II listed pub must be rebuilt

The Punch Bowl Inn in Lancashire was a grade II listed building from the 18th century prior to its demolition. Unfortunately the demolition was not authorised. As a result, Ribble Valley Borough Council issued a listed building enforcement notice on 1 March 2022 ordering Andrew Donelan of Donelan Trading Limited to restore the building to its former state. However this requirement was subject to debate, which led to an appeal against the enforcement notice.

The appellant argued that the listed building enforcement notice only required the outside of the building to be restored because the requirement in the notice made reference to the "existing elevation drawings". However, the enforcement notice also had floor plans attached to it. The planning inspector could see "no reason why the floor plans would be attached if the requirement excluded them".

The appellant also argued that the actual listing of the building focused on the external appearance of the building. However, the inspector determined that the listing was a useful starting point for identifying the building and should not be used as a definitive description.

In their consideration of the appellants' argument, the inspector stated that there is nothing in the enforcement notice that would suggest the required restoration applies to the outside of the building only. As the requirement was to restore the building "to its former state", ignoring the internal arrangements of the building would not achieve the requirement.

The appellant also argued that the building couldn't be restored within 12 months because the materials had been destroyed. Having visited the site, the inspector observed a large amount of stonework.

As such, the appeal was dismissed and the building must be restored both externally and internally as indicated on the floor plans and drawings attached to the enforcement notice. At the same time, the inspector varied the wording of the enforcement notice so that it stated that the building had to be restored to its former state "as detailed in the attached existing elevation drawings and in the location shown on the attached plan."

The inspector also added conditions to the enforcement notice requiring:

  • a survey of the on-site materials resulting from the demolition to establish which materials can be re-used in the restoration;
  • submission of details of any alternative materials that are to be used, where the re-use of on-site materials is not possible;
  • the restoration to use as much material from the original building as possible.

Lillian Garvey, acting for Ribble Valley Borough Council during the appeal, said, "The owners of the listed building in this case were faced with a deteriorating building in need of urgent works, to ensure that the building did not pose a danger to the public. The Council and Historic England were seeking to work with the owners to identify what works were required and an urgent solution. However, rather than properly engage, the Defendants took the wholly disproportionate act of essentially demolishing the entire pub.

"The outcome for them is that they now need to rebuild the pub, which is said will cost in the region of £1.5 million. Further, they now have criminal records and were forced to pay £69,125 for the criminal trial. They will also have to pay the Council's costs of the enforcement appeal, as they were found to have acted unreasonably in their handling of the appeal."

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