Building experts survey materials which might be salvageable to rebuild Hurst Green's historic pub Punch Bowl Inn

Surveys of building materials have begun at a Lancashire site where an 18th Century pub is due to be rebuilt after it was illegally demolished.
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The Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green, Lancashire, was bulldozed by Donelan Trading Ltd after the group ignored a council decision in June 2021. Andrew Donelan, Nicola Donelan, and Rebecca Donelan, all of Carr Hall, Whalley New Road, Wilpshire; David Cotterell, of Percliff Way, Philips Road, Blackburn; and Brian Ingleby of Hollowhead Avenue, Blackburn, were found guilty after a trial last year of unlawfully demolishing the Punch Bowl in Longridge Road, Hurst Green, in June 2021. They must go through the rubble of the pub with experts to see which materials might be salvageable and submit this to the council before rebuilding. Any materials that are missing will need to be sourced and approved by the council.

Ribble Valley Borough Council has been overseeing surveys of materials left at the site to see what can be reused. Lyndsey Hayes, the authority's head of development management and building control, inspected the site in July. In a subsequent letter to planning agents, she said she was "satisfied" two piles of materials were not suitable for reuse and could be removed, but clear photographic records must be submitted of both piles before the local planning authority could agree to removal.

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She said discussions were "ongoing" regarding the suitability of the other materials on the site and that following the conclusion of those discussions, the local planning authority will then be in a position to issue its final decision.

How the Punch Bowl Inn looked one month since sentencing and an order to rebuild on April 8How the Punch Bowl Inn looked one month since sentencing and an order to rebuild on April 8
How the Punch Bowl Inn looked one month since sentencing and an order to rebuild on April 8
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The Punch Bowl Inn owners and contractor Percliff were ordered to pay a range of fines and costs 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.

A council spokesman confirmed reconstruction had not started at the site yet but the owners were "currently in dialogue with us regarding an ongoing survey to identify which materials from the demolished building may be reusable".

He added: "If the owners of the site fail to meet their obligations, all options will be considered, including prosecution."

The developers have estimated a cost of £1.5m to rebuild the site to its original specifications.

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