The only building in a street to survive the London Blitz has been bulldozed by developers – who have now been ordered to rebuild it brick by brick.
The Cartlon Tavern in Maida Vale, west London, was considered an important historical building and was due to become listed, the Telegraph reports.
But without warning, developers brought in bulldozers earlier this month and knocked the piece of English history to the ground.
Landlady Patsy Lord had been told by the owners to close on Easter Monday for an “inventory” and on returning discovered the 94-year-old building razed to the ground.
Three months previously, Westminster City Council had refused planning permission for the Tel Aviv-based developers to turn the site into flats, an increasingly common fate for old pubs which has coincided with the smoking ban and cheap supermarket alcohol.
Robert Davis, the council’s deputy leader, said he had been “absolutely horrified” at the “scandalous” destruction and he and his colleagues have fast-tracked an enforcement notice which will be issued to the owners next week.
It will state they must ensure the building is put back “as it stood immediately prior to its demolition”.
The pub is in an area inhabited by well-off and well-known names including TV star Danny John-Jules who played ‘Cat’ in Red Dwarf. He said “The pub looked like it would serve for another 100 years.”
He voiced concerns that many people share about the importance of pubs for the local community, saying: “It’s another nail in the coffin of what we would call in the olden days as socialising. It’s great to be on Twitter but it’s just not the same as real socialising.
“That pub was so old-school, you would find most of the older community in there. By the time my kids are old enough to drink there won’t be any pubs. This demolition seems like a calculated move to avoid any confrontation with the listing side of things.”
Westminster Council was backed by residents and supporters on twitter, including writer Mark Wilding who called the decision “excellent news” and Pahill Elliott from the drinks industry who tweeted it was “Good work by the council here”.
Musician Jay Garrett wrote: “Rightly so. Developers take note.”
It is thought this is the first time a council has ordered a building to be reconstructed from scratch and could well be used by campaign groups and heritage organisations as a landmark ruling to guide further decisions.
The order, due to be approved by the council’s planning committee next Tuesday, will also prevent the owners from selling the site until the building has been restored.
It will be listed as a non-designated heritage asset to protect it from the wrecking ball in future.