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Council investigating shock demolition of Battle of Britain pub

PUBLISHED: 10:35 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:35 13 October 2016

The Battle of Britain pub before demolition began

The Battle of Britain pub before demolition began

Archant

Planning officials had not given the go-ahead for the building to be demolished

Council officials are investigating the unauthorised demolition of a historic pub in Northfleet that began last week.

Local residents were shocked to discover that contractors had moved in to begin the demolition of the Battle of Britain pub on Coldharbour Road- apparently without proper safety measures being taken to secure the site.

Developers Caldecotte Group applied to the council on October 5 to determine whether permission was needed prior to demolition of the building, giving assurances that work would not begin until approval was granted.

But planning officers were astonished when they visited the site on October 12 to find that demolition had already begun.

The site foreman said one wall had been rendered unsafe and would have to be removed but agreed to stop work until a further building control visit later that day.

When they returned, officers found that much more of the building had been knocked down, and a structural expert reported that a large section of wall now needed to be demolished for safety reasons.

Local resident Trevor Wood told the Reporter the site had not been closed off and was apparently unsafe.

“The site was open to the public and you could still walk through the car park,” he said.

“It used to be the site of an old country house and belonged to the MOD. I’m surprised it has not had a preservation order on it.

“The original pub was the old dispersal huts from Gravesend Air Field.

“It was a popular place – even up to this summer. There were always families sitting up in the garden. There are too many pubs closing down.”

The council says it has to determine the application to demolish and will take into consideration that the pub is not a listed building, is outside the conservation area and no requests to have it registered as a community asset have been received.

What do you think? Send pictures or comments to simon.allin@archant.co.uk

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