Developer faces court over demolition of 200-year-old Yorkshire pub

A developer has been served with summons by council officials accusing him of demolishing a 200-year-old pub without planning consent in an East Yorkshire village.

Most of the Travellers Rest was knocked down Picture: Long Riston Travellers Rest Action Group

Wayne Low and AGML (UK) Ltd are facing charges that they started to knock down Long Riston’s only pub, the Travellers Rest, between November last year and February 1, without informing East Riding of Yorkshire Council and that the demolition was carried out without planning permission.

Mr Low says he will deny the charges.

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It comes as East Riding councillors unanimously rejected plans to build five terraced houses and a two-storey house and garage on the cleared site, which includes the former car park.

Before the demolition Picture: Long Riston Travellers Rest Action Group

A single section of the pub remains, which Mr Low intends opening as a micro pub.

Resident John Sherwood, from the Long Riston Residents Action Group, told the planning sub-committee there was “strong and passionate” opposition to the plans in the village, which has already lost its post office and shop.

Mr Sherwood said villagers wanted the pub to be reinstated with a design that was sympathetic to the original building, adding: “No other plan would be satisfactory in terms of compensation for the removal of a major community asset.

“The pub has been at the heart of the community as a thriving business in the past.

A single-storey section of the building was left standing Picture: Long Riston Travellers Rest Action Group

“There is no reason why it should not be in future.”

The “typical early 19th century country pub” was in a conservation area and sat within a row of similarly aged buildings, extending from Board Cottage to Cooper Farmhouse.

Ward councillor John Holtby said the demolition had led to a “huge amount of controversy”, adding: “The pub has changed hands a few times, but was previously profitable and is seen as an asset of community value.” And he said the planned micropub “would be no substitute for the fine building that was there before.”

But Mr Low’s agent David Barker told the meeting the pub was a “boarded up eyesore” and the roof was being refurbished when part of it collapsed. Previous internal works had left it a high health and safety risk. He said: “Demolition was an unfortunate necessity.”

He claimed it was unviable to restate the pub as it was and the developer intended to create “a smaller, more viable pub.”

However councillors lined up to express their regret, including Coun Brian Skow who said: “This is a great loss to the village, it was a wonderful pub.

“Sadly it didn’t do the business it should have been doing, but it was demolished without authority.”

Mr Low said he would appeal the planning decision and would also apply for costs because of the council’s “unreasonable” behaviour.

He claimed a few residents "that are causing a bit of a noise have the ear of politicians and they decided not to support it.”

He said: “There’s Boris Johnson saying build, build and you will get automatic planning consent for the delivery of housing - but East Riding of Yorkshire Council clearly has earmuffs on.”

On the charges he said: “The first (charge) demonstrates what we said all along - we weren’t going to demolish it.

“You don’t need planning consent to demolish a structurally unsafe building where there’s a threat to public safety in a conservation area under section nine of the Town and Country Planning Act.”

The case is due to be heard by Beverley Magistrates next Wednesday.