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

Published: 21 July 2015

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.”