1. ITV Report

Shocked manager returns to find historic pub demolished without warning, without permission

The manager of a pub returned after she was told to close for an inventory to find builders had demolished the historic building.

Developers ripped through the Carlton Tavern the day before it was due to become a listed building. They had been denied planning permission to develop the site.

Manager Patsy Lord rushed back to the pub in Maida Vale, north London, on Wednesday to find two bulldozers tearing into the historic building.

The Tavern was the only building in its road to survive Hitler's bombs during the Blitz.

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

Westminster City Council sent a planning enforcement team to find the pub was being demolished - three months after developers CLTX Ltd were denied planning permission to build flats.

– Patsy Lord, pub manager
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It was a shock. I have never seen anything like it in my entire life. I went past just the other day and there were people drinking inside the pub - there was no warning whatsoever.

They were going to confirm it as a listed building on Wednesday. I think the developers found out it was going to be a listed building and that's why they destroyed it.

The whole community is in shock. How can they do this without approval?

– Councillor Rita Begum, Maida Vale ward for Labour
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English Heritage confirmed the site was being considered to be listed. Westminster City Council will now be seeking legal advice.

Westminster City Council's Planning Enforcement Team received a report that the Carlton Tavern was in the process of being demolished.

A Planning Inspector of the Planning Enforcement Team visited the site immediately following receipt of the report and noted at 2.30pm that the building had indeed been substantially demolished with only one side wall remaining.

The building's demolition required the city council's prior approval and as no such approval was sought or obtained, the city council will be seeking legal advice concerning whether any future action is legally possible.

Pubs play an important role in our local community.

– Westminster Council
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  • Developers wanted to destroy the existing building and replace it with a ground floor pub and four upper floors made up of ten residential units
  • They were denied by a planning sub-committee because of the "bulk, height and detailed design of the new building would be detrimental to the view from the adjacent Maida Vale Conservation Area"
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The Carlton Tavern built in 1920-21 for Charrington & Co was an early inter-war improved public house, carefully detailed and built of good quality materials, showing the vision of a leading London brewery.

The site was remarkably well-preserved externally and internally, it displayed the hierarchy of rooms in their fixtures, fittings and decorative treatment and retained all its external signage.

Few pubs were built at this date and fewer survive unaltered. It also had great historical interest as an improved pub, illustrative of growing concern at raising the reputation of public houses, by providing family facilities and reducing drunkenness.

We intended to recommend the site for listing at grade II, however this is not confirmation it would have been listed, the Department for Culture Media and Sport is responsible for deciding which sites are designated and at what grade.

– Historic England statement
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I'm horrified for the local residents that this has occurred. It came as such a shock to everyone. There was no prior warning to the council, no approvals and no proper health and safety procedures in place.

This was a lovely pub and I'm sorry to see it go, but I'm more concerned for the residents in Maida Vale for whom they showed no consideration whatsoever. It was the last building standing in Carlton Vale after the WW2 bombings.

I've lived in the area for 35 years and have never seen anything like this before. We need to take very careful legal advice as to what steps we can take.

– Councillor Jan Prendagast, Westminster City Council

ITV News approached the developers, who did not want to be interviewed. However, they fully accepted what they had done was against the rules.