Judge could order unlawfully demolished Punch Bowl Inn pub to be rebuilt brick-by-brick

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A Lancashire council is stepping up its legal action to force he owners of a listed 18th-century pub that was illegally demolished to rebuild it.

The Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green, between Longridge and Clitheroe, was bulldozed by Donelan Trading Ltd. after the group ignored a decision by Ribble Valley Borough Council in June 2021.

Five people were fined more than £20,000 last year for their role in knocking down the Grade II-listed building.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The owners were ordered to rebuild it to its original plan – based on architectural records – by March this year. But no reconstruction work has taken place and now the authority is seeking a new court order to make them do so.

How the Punch Bowl looked before it was smashed to bits (inset) three years agoHow the Punch Bowl looked before it was smashed to bits (inset) three years ago
How the Punch Bowl looked before it was smashed to bits (inset) three years ago
Read More
'They won't just walk away': council leader's fury after failure to rebuild Punc...

The borough council is applying to the High Court for an injunction to force the owners to comply with its an enforcement notice issued in March 2023.

In a report to Ribble Valley Council’s planning and development committee meeting last week, the borough’s head of legal and democratic services, Mair Hill, informed councillors of the move.

It said: “Committee will recall that the council issued an Enforcement Notice (and successfully defended its appeal) requiring the owner to restore the building to its former state within one year of the notice taking effect.

Work still hasn't started on rebuilding the demolished Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green - despite the deadline for doing so passing (image taken in March 2024)Work still hasn't started on rebuilding the demolished Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green - despite the deadline for doing so passing (image taken in March 2024)
Work still hasn't started on rebuilding the demolished Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green - despite the deadline for doing so passing (image taken in March 2024)

“This period elapsed in March 2024.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Throughout the period the council has endeavoured to ensure that this was complied with and has corresponded with, discussed in person and facilitated meetings on site with the highway authority and traffic management companies.

“Notwithstanding these efforts the owner has failed to restore the building and maintains a position that any restoration of the building should be in a different position from its original site.

“This is not acceptable to the council and no evidence has been presented to the council to establish that it is not possible to comply with the enforcement notice.

“The council will therefore proceed to seek injunctive relief requiring compliance with the notice and has informed the land owner of this position.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In March 2023 The Punch Bowl Inn’s owners and contractor Percliff were ordered to pay a range of fines and costs totalling £69,125 at Blackburn Magistrates Court by district judge Alexander Boyd, who said the company was aware the demolition of the building was a criminal offence when it took place.

The three owners – Andrew Donelan, his wife Nicola Donelan and daughter Rebecca Donelan – had told the court they were worried the building had become unsafe and they believed it had got worse over the years and had been broken into and targeted by arsonists.