1. Economics
April 9, 2015

A developer demolished a pub in Kilburn without council permission

By Barbara Speed

What to do when you don’t get planning permission?

This was the quandary faced by CLTX, a development company which recently bought a Kilburn pub, only to find that the council would not approve its plan to replace the Carlton Tavern with a new pub and four floors of flats.

In a planning decision taken earlier this year,Westminster Council concluded that the proposed building would block views, and failed to provide any affordable housing. They rejected the application. NIMBYs, eh?

Early this morning, it looks like CLTX took matters into their own hands. Two bulldozers rocked up the Carlton Tavern without notice and began demolishing the building.  All furniture and fittings were still inside, including, apparently, a flat-screen TV and darts trophies. A lone pint glass was still sitting on a table.

A Maida Vale councillor tweeted this photo of the wreckage:

Doesn’t look like that TV survived. 

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Westminster Council has confirmed it did not approve the demolition. Even the pub’s landady was kept in the dark – she told the Brent and Kilburn Times that she was told the pub was closing for an “inventory”: 

It’s heartbreaking. There was no warning. I thought they were going to dig the back garden.

Tom Copley, City Hall housing spokesperson for Labour, told us: 

I’m outraged… this isn’t just about one pub, it’s about sending a message to all developers who may think of trying this that they won’t be able to get away with it. We are losing good pubs in London at an alarming rate because developers want to make a profit out of the booming residential property market. 

Copley also suggested that the developer might be hoping to pay the fine for unauthorised demolition, but recuperate costs through the new development. 

We also spoke to a spokesperson for Historic England (previously English Heritage), who confirmed that HE was intending to recommend the site for listing at Grade II level, defined as “buildings of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them”.

Needless to say, this would have made demolition much harder to get past the council. Nice work, CLTX. Bravo .

We have approached CLTX and its KR Planning, its planning consultant, for comment.


UPDATE 29/4: Westminster Council has ordered CLTX to rebuild the pub “brick-by-brick”. Read more here

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