Developer loses bid to get consent for unlawful demolition of historic pub

Published: Tuesday 21st July 15

The council has rejected a bid from a property developer that would have given him retrospective planning permission following his decision last month to demolish a Victorian public house in Battersea.

 

The developer took down the former Alchemist pub in St Johns’ Hill without planning permission. He had not sought any consent to do this even though he was required to do so under planning rules because the building was located in a conservation area.

The council responded to this unlawful demolition by launching enforcement action requiring the developer to rebuild it brick-by-brick.

A subsequent attempt to circumvent the enforcement action by obtaining retrospective permission has today (Tuesday) been rejected.

Planners ruled that the developer’s application should be refused because the loss of this important local landmark and prominent historic building in the conservation area would be against the public interest.

The developer will now be required to start work on rebuilding the pub and restoring it to its original condition. 

Planning chairman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: “The developer was trying to get permission for this unlawful demolition by the back door. This attempt has been roundly rejected.

“The loss of such an interesting and important local landmark was judged to be against the public interest.

“In our view the demolition was a very serious breach of planning rules which can only be put right by the complete rebuilding and reconstruction of this important community asset, using the same materials and to the same architectural design.

“This building was an integral part of the St John’s Hill Grove conservation area and its loss has been keenly felt by local people. That’s why we are determined to take action to ensure it’s restored for future generations.”

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Recent comments

Delighted to see the developer is being forced to restore this historic building and that, for once, Wandsworth Planners are showing concern for local feelings.
Anthony Ogg

10 August 2015

I imagine that there are several options here. 1) Rebuild the pub to its original 'un-used'condition 2) Rebuild the fascia so that it has the same appearance from the front but becomes useful and much needed flats for Londoner's to purchase i.e. affordable first time buyer flats ? 3) Rebuild something new and useful to the community and in keeping with the local area. i cannot see how a derelict pub should be re instated to its original condition ? what is that..a derelict condition ? Can the council not just go for option 2 above and get a 'win win' out of the situation ? I don't think people should be jealous of the developer, ultimately they are running a business and will employ people to do the work.. thus helping the economy.
Doug Baker

29 July 2015

Stupidity all round. The developer deserved to have his bottom kicked for blatantly ignoring the planning rules. But it would have been better to fine him heavily equivalent to the cost of rebuilding the pub, and then put those funds to good local use. The pub was derelict, an eyesore, no-one used it apart from the occasional illegal rave a few years ago, no-one wanted to buy it and run it as a pub . Sarah McDermott's remarks are silly. Its loss will not be 'keenly felt by local people'. Dumb all round.
Paolo

27 July 2015

The Prince of Wales ( formerly The Rising Sun ) in Battersea Bridge Road has been closed for 20 months , scaffolding has been up for 13 months. Why is this pub shut, what is happening ?
Constantine Benckendorff

27 July 2015

this building was an absolute eyesore and derelict for a long time . Why was it derelict ? because nobody actually used the pub , hence the closure .as for the conservation bit what about the building next door ? i dont think this actually fits the bill. no, i say pull it down and build some flats that can actually be useful
john fowler

25 July 2015

It is scandalous that the developer demolished the historic pub in the first place. And absolutely correct that WBC have ordered its reconstruction. But where are the original materials?
Sara jayne stanes

25 July 2015

I agree with one of the comments that if you want the building saved, then use it. How many residents actually used it .An empty pub is an eyesore.What is the alternative????? Developer was wrong in demolishing without consent,whether derelict or not. WBC must have incurred an extra cost in this affair and that cost should be clawed back,via a fine or whatever as other Council Tax Payers are funding the unnecessary cost.
Sunny

25 July 2015

Spot on!
N Paul

25 July 2015

Excellent, well done to the planning committee for standing up to a blatant attempt at circumventing planning laws for financial greed.
Mike Smith

25 July 2015

Council - please follow this through. Arrogant developers who think they can overrule public interest must be punished for their public contempt. Please ensure this is rebuilt at developers expense, even if via courts if necessary.
Tom

24 July 2015

Bravo Wandsworth and please resist any appeal. Important to show that developers can't get away with this disgusting conduct.
John Williams

24 July 2015

I run a pub in Putney. Question. Do the people who object to pub development, and defend their existence on the grounds of heritage etc, actually use them? It's controversial, I realise, but pubs are not museums. The best way to preserve your local is to support it.
Becky Newman

24 July 2015

When I saw that this building had disappeared, my reaction was, "Who gave permission for that?" so I'm glad to see that the developers are being punished. However, will it take as long for the council's directive to be complied with, as with the Skydeck in Earlsfield Road?
Cathy

24 July 2015

Very good to see planning rules being enforced in this way! I hope the developer does not find another way to get round the decision.
Susanna Dammann

24 July 2015

Great news
martin cornish

24 July 2015

I fully support this decision, in principle.
Ron

24 July 2015

The building was demolished illegally and some sort of retribution is appropriate. But there is something farcical in restoring this 'historic building' next door to the unsightly box to the right of the site in this 'conservation area'. Who gave planning permission for that? I gather the pub was derelict when demolished. Is the restoration to be to the state of dereliction, or does the 'original condition' imply a complete return to the Victorian glory before it was neglected? I think a heavy fine would be a more realistic course of action over this 'spilt milk'. The 'conservation' of this area failed some years ago.
Edmund Hodges

24 July 2015

I quite understand the council's decision as far as the pub is concerned but how on Earth did anyone get permission to build the monstrosity next door on the right as you look at it from the road?
Peter Rudland

24 July 2015

Well done Wandsworth. I am pleased to see the Council taking action here. We are losing far too many pubs and historic buildings to alternative developments. The building was in a conservation area for a reason and the developer shouldn't have chanced his luck. Its likely to be a very expensive mistake which will send a strong message to others developers .
Chris

24 July 2015

Thank you wandsworth council planning department. Heritage before profit.
Andrew Arnott

24 July 2015

While planning permission should have been sought before demolition, the councillor obviously does not go past this site regularly. It was an eyesore and was left to ruin. I am disappointed that it is being used as a shameless Press Release. I love our council but the reason given is poor.
Iain

24 July 2015

I suspect refusing retrospective permission was the only thing the council could reasonably do. But this building has been a ruin for years (and probably unsafe) so surely there needs to be a sensible view taken as to whether this building is sustainable as a (not much loved) boozer. And therefore whether it truly merits being rebuilt.
Michael

24 July 2015

Something similar happened in North London recently. Well done Wandsworth Council. Great decision. Just make sure the developer actually does it! Is there a time frame? What happens if they make the company insolvent, only to resurface under a different name? That was a rather expensive mistake.
Phil Harmer

24 July 2015

Well done WBC. Credit is also due for refusing the application to replace Halford's premises on Putney High Street. Good to see planning regulations upheld.
David Irwin

23 July 2015

“This building was an integral part of the St John’s Hill Grove conservation area and its loss has been keenly felt by local people. That’s why we are determined to take action to ensure it’s restored for future generations.” I agree with the above statement. I was happy that I did not have to see a building left in disrepair that was basically an eyesore anymore. If the Council really cared, they would not have allowed "such an interesting and important local landmark" to turn to ruin and be covered with posters with trees and bushes growing out of it. I understand the retrospective application being refused as they had to show that they would not accept work being done without permission, but the press release is nonsense
John

22 July 2015

Excellent news. Well done Wandsworth Council planning department. More of this please. Our heritage & Conservation areas need to protected, restored & enhanced not bulldozed to be replaced with yet another unsympathetic modern structure.
Gill Allen

22 July 2015

Well done the Council. I hope this rebuild and restoration is enforced. If the developer or his Company tries bankruptcy can he be prosecuted?
Richard Shuttleworth

21 July 2015