Owner explains why 'historic' Sheffield pub was demolished without planning permission

The owner of a ‘historic’ Sheffield pub which was razed to the ground without planning permission has defended its actions.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 10:16 am

The Royal Oak on High Street, Mosborough, was reduced to rubble on Saturday, May 8.

It has since emerged that the owner failed to apply for planning permission before the building was demolished, and the firm has been ordered by Sheffield Council to apply retrospectively, with no guarantee the application will succeed.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, said the demolition had sparked ‘a lot of anger’, and local residents have highlighted the example of a pub in London which the owners were ordered to rebuild brick-by-brick after it was demolished without consent.

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The Royal Oak pub in Mosborough, Sheffield, is demolished (pic: Candy Wilson)

The Royal Oak had been closed since October last year, when toxic waste is believed to have been illegally dumped in the car park, causing chemicals to seep into the ground and contaminate a house and its grounds next-door.

The pub’s owner, Bar 24 Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Lazarus Properties, said it had agreed to purchase the property from the EI Group before the spillage but the sale was only completed afterwards.

A spokesman for the firm said the dumped chemicals consisted primarily of the solvents acetone, toluene and methylene chloride, and when a surveyor visited to assess the damage they had to cut the visit short as the fumes coming from the basement were so overpowering.

The pub was demolished on May 8 (pic: Candy Wilson)

A structural survey concluded that ‘the life expectancy of the building has expired’.

“We shuttered the building up and put fencing around it but people still broke in through the roof and we didn’t want anyone dropping dead from the fumes so we decided the building had to come down so the site could be redeveloped,” said the Bar 24 spokesman.

He claimed an F10 form had been sent to both Sheffield Council and the Health and Safety Executive in January, notifying them of the intended demolition, while a pre-application form was submitted to the council with initial proposals for redevelopment, a response to which was ‘well overdue’.

Fencing surrounding the Royal Oak pub after the chemical spillage was discovered

The spokesman added that the plan was to redevelop the site on a ‘residential and commercial basis’, to create ‘something nice that will fit in well with the village’.

Mr Betts insisted that the retrospective application must be treated as if the building were still standing, with sanctions should it be rejected ranging from a fine to an order to rebuild.

“It’s a historic building and a very visible one, and there’s a lot of anger in the community both about the demolition and the way the owners seem to have ridden roughshod over the rules and regulations they’re expected to follow,” he said.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are liaising with the owners of the site and expect an application for retrospective demolition and further redevelopment to be submitted in the coming weeks.

“We always encourage developers to follow the standard process in applying for prior notice of demolition, and we are working with the owners to ensure that all work is carried out safely and in line with planning procedures going forward.”

She added that it was still awaiting an update on the investigation into the spillage.