Gleam of Hope as Council rejects demolition bid

Hope springs eternal

Campaigners fighting against the wanton destruction of the Hope inn on Taunton road are celebrating today after recent objections from the Civic Society, Westover ward councillors, the Bridgwater Heritage Group and Bridgwater Town Council Planning Panel have led to the Sedgemoor Planning department rejected the demolition application by Land Promotions ltd, the company that have been rampaging through the town systematically buying up and knocking down community pubs.

Westover councillor Brian Smedley said “Basically planning consent for demolition has been refused as the owner has contributed to the unfit/dangerous state of the building. Rejection of the proposed demolition is now official Council Policy. However, the Hope is not yet in the clear but this decision is important as it shows the Council are prepared to listen and act on sound advice such as that which was submitted by the Bridgwater heritage group recently in challenging the demolition which many assumed was a fait accompli. This sends out the message that these developers are not going to have it all their own way and need to involve the community rather than drive a steamroller through it.“

Planning officer Stuart Houlet said “ The developer by their actions have forfeited their right to exercise any permitted development rights that exist for demolition and are now required to apply for full planning permission if they wish to proceed with demolition works. This does not in itself mean that the building will be restored immediately. However in terms of the unsatisfactory current condition of the building and the site I have spoken to the developer and advised of the actions open to the Council and I have instigated formal enforcement action against them. I have advised the developer that it is my intention as part of this enforcement action to require the current condition of the building and its site is addressed. This is now possible as a result of the failure of the demolition application.”

hope old
The Hope inn has been an iconic building on the south side of Bridgwater for almost a century

Planning decision in full

Planning Officers served the notice today which said ” Prior Approval is refused for the following reasons:1. Schedule 2 Part 31 of the above Order is clear that ‘permitted development’ rights (to demolish buildings) do not apply if, “the building has been rendered unsafe or otherwise uninhabitable by the action or inaction of any person having an interest in the land on which the building stands and it is practicable to secure safety or health by works of repair or works for affording temporary support”. It is evident that the building has been rendered uninhabitable (and possibly unsafe) by the actions of those with in an interest in it and it is further evident that repair work is practicable to reverse those actions. As such ‘permitted development’ rights which would have otherwise applied have in effect been forfitted by those responsible for removing the roof structure and as a result the demolition of the building is not ‘Permitted Development’
The Prior Notification/Prior Approval procedure is not applicable. An application for full planning permission must be submitted, demolition of the building may only commence if that application is subsequently granted.”