Author: Cyril Richert
On 14th September 2016, retrospective planning application 2016/0647 for the Alchemist pub was approved by the Council (7 votes in favour and 1 abstention). A number of conditions have been added to the approval to those recommended by officers, including a requirement that detailed drawings of the decorative features of the front facade shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority prior to the commencement of the development. The specific details (p.a. 2016/5958) were consented on 5th December 2016.
The Wandsworth Conservation Area Advisory Committee submitted an objection which was dismissed, as well as 27 other objections. Their objection said that the building should be rebuild with its original details and materials.
It is clear that the proposal is to reconstruct the pub with an additional bay to the east – the planning report for original application said that the side extension “is considered to represent insubstantial harm to the heritage asset.”
Following the demolition of the former Fishmonger/Alchemist pub made without planning consent, the Council’s press release dated Tuesday 21st July 2015 said “The council responded to this unlawful demolition by launching enforcement action requiring the developer to rebuild it brick-by-brick.”
And the chair of the Planning Application Committee, Sarah Mc Dermott commented:
“In our view the demolition was a very serious breach of planning rules which can only be put right by the complete rebuilding and reconstruction of this important community asset, using the same materials and to the same architectural design.”
Obviously the current modern masonry blocks being currently erected is not following the requirement to rebuild “brick-by-brick”, even with cladding added later to look like bricks…
The approval of the plans following the demolition without planning consent makes the Council’s process a fool, but as pastiches go, it could have been worse.