Grade II-listed pub to be rebuilt after 'unlawful' destruction

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Clear message: the Punch Bowl pub (pictured) in Hurst Green is to be rebuilt following its unlawful demolition in 2021 (Image credit: Geograph / Chris Heaton)
Clear message: the Punch Bowl pub (pictured) in Hurst Green is to be rebuilt following its unlawful demolition in 2021 (Image credit: Geograph / Chris Heaton)

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A Grade II-listed Lancashire pub is to be rebuilt to its “original standards” following its “unlawful” demolition.

The Punch Bowl pub in Hurst Green was bulldozed by contractor Percliff in June 2021 by request of its owners Donelan Trading Ltd.

Donelan Trading reportedly claimed the site was unsafe after various planning submissions to the local council were refused.

Percliff director David Cotterell said: “The building was deemed unsafe, with the potential for the chimney to collapse, causing danger to life, hence we were instructed at that stage [by Donelan Trading] to carry out the demolition.”

Cotterell added as far as Percliff were aware, the demolition was legal.

Clear message 

However, sentencing from a judge at Blackburn Magistrates Court alleged the group was aware the demolition of the 18th century pub was a criminal offence and issued multiple fines, totalling almost £70,000, to the companies and individuals involved.

Donelan Trading appealed the Listed Building Enforcement Notice (LBEN), which was upheld by the planning inspectorate.

Subsequently, Ribble Valley Borough Council ordered the group rebuild the site to its original standards and restore the external elevations of the building to its former state in the location shown on original plans.

The inspectorate also made a full award of costs in the council’s favour.

Ribble Valley Borough Council planning and development committee chair Alison Brown said: “This case sends a clear message to the owners of listed buildings that they cannot just do whatever they want.

Unlawful demolition 

“We take our responsibility for protecting the built environment seriously and, as this case illustrates, will not hesitate to take action against those undertaking works on listed buildings unlawfully or without consent.

“The court has sentenced the owners of the Punch Bowl Inn to significant fines for unlawful demolition of a listed building and failing to notify the local authority that they intended doing so.

“The Planning Inspectorate also roundly dismissed an appeal by the owners of the Punch Bowl against a council enforcement notice compelling them to restore the building to its former state.

“This has been a long, drawn out and complicated case and I would like to thank our planning and legal officers for their skill and expertise in bringing it to a successful conclusion.”

The Morning Advertiser​ has made attempts to contact Donelan Trading for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication. 

(Image credit: Geograph / Chris Heaton​) 

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