Residents asked if developer who knocked down historic Sheffield pub without permission should be let off the hook

Neighbours of a ‘historic’ Sheffield pub that was razed to the ground without planning permission have been invited to have their say on what could replace it – and if the developer should be let off the hook.

By Alastair Ulke
Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 11:24 am

The Royal Oak on High Street, Mosborough, was reduced to rubble in May only for it to emerge that the owner failed to apply for permission to knock it down.

The firm was ordered by Sheffield City Council to apply retrospectively for the permit, with no guarentee it would be granted.

Now, residents in Mosborough have been invited to comment on the developer’s application to replace the pub with a parade of shopping units, and have their say on whether the demolition should be given a pass.

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

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This is what could replace historic Sheffield pub which was demolished without p...

Planning laws state that if retrospective planning permission is refused, the local authority can issue an enforcement notice which requires the developer to put thing back as they were.

Since the demolition, residents have highlighted a case in London where a developer was ordered to rebuild a pub brick-by-brick after it was knocked down without consent.

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

Letters went out to residents of the former pub on September 8, with a deadline to reply by October 1.

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.

At the time, 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.

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’.

An investigation into the chemical spill’s effect on the site is still ongoing.

Speaking in May, MP for Sheffield South East Clive 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.