Developers ordered to rebuild Lancashire pub after destroying it without permission

The Punch Bowl Inn had been left derelict and had recently been the target of vandals. Credit: Phil Platt / Historic England

A group of property developers have been ordered to rebuild a historic listed pub brick by brick - after they destroyed it without permission.

The Punch Bowl Inn, a Grade-II listed building in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, was reduced to rubble after developers "grew tired" of waiting for permission.

Historic storyteller Simon Entwistle from Clitheroe used to take coach parties to the pub and remembers the day it was razed to the ground:

Donelan Trading Ltd and contractor Percliff Ltd claimed the building had fallen into disrepair and had been targeted by arsonists since closing in 2012.

But Ribble Valley Council said it had made efforts to engage but the group ignored the warnings.

Now five defendants have been fined a combined total of more than £20,000 at Blackburn Magistrates' Court after they were found guilty of various offences following a trial.

Andrew Donelan, 61, Nicola Donelan, 59, Rebecca Donelan, 29, all of of Carr Hall, Wilpshire, David John Cotterell, 58, of Percliff Way, Blackburn, and Brian Ingleby, 70, of Hollowhead Avenue, Blackburn, were all found to have unlawfully demolished the pub.

All but Rebecca Donelan were also found to have demolishing a listed building without giving the local authority notice of their intention and without the local authority having given them notice to do so.

Andrew and Nicola Donelan were fined and ordered to rebuild the pub. Credit: Lancs Live/MEN Media

The pub was said to be haunted by the ghost of highwayman Ned King. It was built in 1720s and was visited by the notorious crook on several occasions before he was executed in 1741.

David Lawson, defending, told the court the group were worried the building, in Hurst Green, had become unsafe over time.

He said they believed its state had got worse over the years and it was broken into and targeted by arsonists.

He also said the defendants alleged Ribble Valley Council had not acted properly or fast enough, and the group became frustrated with apparent delays.

However, Killian Garvey, representing Ribble Valley Council, said borough planning staff had communicated professionally with the group and made efforts to engage.

But the group ignored various warnings, including from Historic England, and demolished the pub without permission. They also failed to have a proper road closure.

A previous hearing at Burnley Magistrates' Court heard a key witness, construction firm boss Gez Pegram, tell a jury that there had been “no need” to demolish the pub on Longridge Road.

The court agreed Ribble Valley Council was justified in wanting its full costs reimbursed for the work linked to the Punch Bowl Inn action, and that the council had acted correctly.

At Blackburn Magistrates’ Court, Donelan Trading Ltd was fined £12,000, handed a £1,200 court surcharge and ordered to pay £20,000 towards costs. A total of £33,200.

  • Andrew Donelan, as an individual person, received a £2,000 fine, a £200 surcharge and told to pay £2,000 towards costs.

  • Nicola Donelan was given a £1,000 fine, a £100 surcharge and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

  • Rebecca Donelan received a lower £200 fine, a £25 surcharge and told to pay £250 towards costs.

  • Purcliff Ltd was fined £5,600, had a £560 surcharge and told to pay £20,000 towards costs.

  • Brian Ingleby was fined £1,000, given a £100 surcharge and charged £1,000.

  • David John Cotterell was fined £400, given a £40 surcharge and has to pay £400 towards costs.

The businesses were told to pay fines, surcharges and costs soon while the individuals were given slightly longer periods to repay.

In a separate planning process, an order has been made that The Punch Bowl Inn must also be rebuilt and restored inside and out .