Council gets date in court over unlawful demolition of Grade II-listed Ribble Valley pub

A court date has been set over the unlawful demolition of a historic Ribble Valley pub.

By Catherine Musgrove
Friday, 7th January 2022, 4:55 am

Ribble Valley Borough Council have started legal proceedings over the unauthorised demoltion of the Punch Bowl pub in Hurst Green last summer.

>>>Click here to read how the story unfolded in June.

The Grade II-listed pub was on the outskirts on Longridge, and dated back to the 18th century. It had been vacant since 2012.

How the pub looked prior to its demolition in June 2021

After it was demolished without warning in June, Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans called for a "thorough investigation" into how that could have happened without any apparent warning.

At the time, the Council said it had contacted the landowner and vowed to look into the matter. It has now taken formal action.

Nicola Hopkins, Ribble Valley Borough Council’s director of economic development and planning, said: “We have started proceedings in response to the demolition of

the former Grade II-listed Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green and an initial hearing is scheduled for Blackburn Magistrates Court in March.”

A pile of rubble left in June 2021

No further details have been announced.

Historic England, who granted the listed status to the pub, state that planning permission is in principle required for demolition of listed buildings and notes carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building is a criminal offence.

However in certain instances where demolition is urgently necessary in the interests of safety or health and other conditions are met the developer must, as soon as reasonably practicable, give the local planning authority a written justification of the demolition.

Donelan Trading Ltd, which owns the site, has been contacted for comment.

New plans

In December, new plans to put 15 static caravans on the site were put to Ribble Valley Borough Council by owners Donelan Trading Ltd of Whalley Road, Wilpshire, Blackburn.

The proposed holiday park is identical to one previously approved by the authority in October 2018, apart from plans to turn the pub building into five holiday lets, as it no longer exists.

The 2018 has now expired as more than three years has passed since approval.

In planning documents, the caravans are referred to as 'lodges', with two designs given, both measuring 12.8m x 4m.

The agent for Donelan Trading states: "In the interests of consistency, planning permission should be granted for this, as the policy context in which this will be determined remains unchanged."

He added: "The holiday park remains exactly as per then (2018) scheme wherein planning permission was granted for 15 static/lodge pitches.

"The static caravans/lodges would occupy the external area associated with the former public house. The existing access off Longridge Road would be utilised and suitable turning areas within the site would be provided.

"Each caravan/lodge would be provided with its own designated car parking space and the plans incorporate a further 16 visitor car parking spaces."

Access to and from the holiday park would continue to be obtained via the existing access point off Longridge Road, to the west of the former listed building.

The applicant has included plans to tarmac the entrance road, and use a porous loose gravel finish to the access road and parking areas.