Residents appeal to secretary of state after councillors quash hopes of rebuilding Battle of Britain pub
PUBLISHED: 11:02 09 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:02 09 February 2017
The council claims it has done everything within its powers to deal with the situation
Gravesend residents are appealing to the secretary of state after the council appeared to quash any hopes of a Northfleet pub being rebuilt.
On Friday (February 3), a meeting was held between officials and members of a community group who had been hoping to have the historic Battle of Britain pub rebuilt following its illegal demolition.
The council had already rejected their bids to have the Coldharbour Road site listed as an asset of community value and to provide blanket protection for the borough’s remaining pubs.
Tina Brooker, who has been leading the campaign, said she left the meeting feeling nonplussed after residents voiced their concerns to councillors.
She told The Reporter: “Their argument seemed to be ‘had the developers gone by the rules then they would have got planning permission’ - but they didn’t.
“They have breached so many things - is there nothing big enough to stop the planning application?
“I said I thought breaching rules was something serious, but what I am getting here is it is not.”
Members of the Battle of Britain Community Group had hoped Gravesham MP Adam Holloway and Coldharbour councillor Bronwen McGarrity would attend the meeting but they were absent.
The group have now written to secretary of state for communities and local government Sajid Javid to express their concerns.
A council spokesperson said: “Had JT Davies [the group that owned the pub] followed due process and awaited the outcome of their Prior Approval application, given that the pub was not a listed building, locally listed heritage asset, within a conservation area or listed as an asset of community value, the application would almost certainly have been approved.
“With that in mind, we considered the expediency of taking enforcement action. In simple terms, if there were not any good planning reasons to refuse the demolition of the Battle of Britain pub then it would not be reasonable or expedient to require it to be rebuilt.
“It is totally incorrect to say that the council does not take such breaches seriously. The council had done all within its powers to deal with the situation but legislative constraints prevented us doing more.”