17th Century Public House Being Gutted Without Permission

Council acts to protect listed building

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The council has obtained an injunction after developers began gutting it without permission requiring Carrington Sears Limited, the owners of the Montague Arms public house in Medfield Street, to cease all works immediately

The Montague Arms is one of the borough's oldest buildings, with parts of it dating back to the 17th Century. It is a Grade II Listed building.

The council has intervened after being alerted that unauthorised building works were taking place. Planning officers made an emergency visit to the site and discovered that builders were gutting its interior, in connection with its conversion into flats.

As well as removing doors, door casings, walls, parts of the staircase, panelling, fireplaces and timber beam cladding, the builders had also damaged the external fascia boards on the front of the pub. The bar at the ground floor has also been removed along with associated joinery and cupboards.

None of these works are lawful. The council has not received any planning application nor any application for listed building consent. No permissions have been granted allowing such works to take place. It is a criminal offence to undertake any works on a listed building without listed building consent.

Carrington Sears Ltd, which is based in Bethnal Green, east London, was advised both verbally and in writing that all works should cease immediately and a formal Stop Notice was issued on October 24.

However, a site inspection by planning officers three days later revealed that further works had been carried out. The council obtained an interim court injunction the next day. If the injunction is breached, the owner faces an immediate jail sentence and unlimited fines for contempt of court.

The town hall is now investigating the possibility of prosecuting the owners for an offence under Section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

November 7, 2008