Packhorse & Talbot Pub Is Safe For Next Six Months

Council will now launch a full consultation on designation of CHR as Conservation area

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Hounslow Council is to to launch a formal consultation in March on the designation of Chiswick High Road as a Conservation Area following a High Court case judgment relating to the demolition of the Packhorse & Talbot put.

The judgment supported Hounslow Council's decision to refuse an application from a developer last year to demolish the Packhorse & Talbot pub but was critical of how the Council took the decision.

The developer has agreed not to take any action to demolish the property for the next six months while the consultation is being carried out.

Silus Investments was granted a judicial review on the matter where it challenged Hounslow Council's over whether it had acted improperly in refusing to allow the pub to be demolished on the grounds of it being situated on Chiswick High Road, which is partly designated as a Conservation area.

The company, which is registered in Panama, has owned the site since 2009 and the pub is currently leased out. The Packhorse & Talbot is not a listed building but a public house has been on that site for hundreds of years.

Last August the Council refused the bid to demolish the pub on the grounds that part of the CHR was designated a Conservation area.

The Chiswick High Road was designated as an Area of Special Character last year, (replacing the term Heritage Fringe) in the draft Local Plan but a full consultation had not been carried out when the property company had announced its bid to demolish the Packhorse & Talbot.

The case was heard Tuesday (Feb 3rd) in the High Court by Mrs. Justice Lang who said in her judgement, issued last week, that Hounslow had not followed proper procedure in terms of the consultation period for making its decision. The notice period was not sufficient for the claimant to be consulted or respond. The judge did not find the Council had acted for an improper purpose in making its decision.

Hounslow Council pointed out that the decision had to be taken during a very tight timescale during the summer holidays in August.

Hounslow Council said in a statement: “We respect the judgment made by the Hon Mrs Justice Lang on the matters of procedure. We are pleased that the Court rejected the allegations of the claimant, Silus Investments S.A., that the Council had acted for an improper purpose.

“We now intend to start a completely fresh decision-making process in March. This will include a full consultation with all interested parties on the proposed Conservation Area and the detailed Conservation Area appraisal that has been prepared before a recommendation is made to the council’s planning committee.

“In the meantime, we welcome the undertaking by Silus to the court not to commence any demolition works at the public house, nor to apply for prior approval of the method of demolition, for six months from the date of the order (19 February 2015).

“The designation decision was made when one month’s notice had been given of the landowner’s intention to demolish the pub during the summer holidays. The procedural problems would not have arisen without that tight timescale. The six month undertaking gives the council and the local community the opportunity for extensive consideration of a Conservation Area, which was not available last year.

“The council acknowledges the judge’s findings about the procedural matters in this case, particularly in relation to consultation, and is reviewing its practices and processes accordingly.

“We will now look to launch a formal consultation on the proposed Chiswick High Road Conservation Area in accordance with legislation and procedure.

“The new process will be transparent, legal and open-minded. No decision will be taken until the consultation process has been fully exhausted and with full consideration of the facts, views and submissions of Chiswick residents and businesses.”

February 23, 2015