The saga of the Punch Bowl Inn – how a historic pub was lowered to rubble and why it have to be rebuilt
It was mentioned to be haunted by the ghost of a infamous 18th Century highwayman and had stood on Longridge Street for the reason that 1720s.
However now, the Punch Bowl Inn is nothing greater than a pile of bricks and rubble. And people answerable for its demolition have been advised they have to rebuild it – brick-by-brick.
The enterprise folks, household and associates linked to the unlawful demolition of the historic Ribble Valley pub had been highlighted in court docket this week – together with the estimated £1.5million rebuilding prices and hundreds of kilos in prices incurred by the council in coping with the weird case.
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A district choose at Blackburn Magistrates Court docket sentenced two Lancashire firms and 5 folks on Wednesday (March 8) after the Grade II-listed listed Punch Bowl Inn at Hurst Inexperienced was demolished with out permission in 2021.
Throughout sentencing, the court docket heard it was troublesome to search out related court docket instances to the Punch Bowl Inn which the district choose may examine. One case was talked about at Skipton and one other in Cambridge.
The outdated Punch Bowl Inn had been topic to numerous planning purposes to Ribble Valley Council through the years. These have included six from the principle defendant discovered responsible on the trial, businessman Andrew Donelan of Wilpshire.
Prior to now, the Punch Bowl Inn was as soon as a Thwaites pub. Extra just lately it had been an Indian restaurant. Nevertheless it was purchased in 2015 by Donelan Buying and selling Ltd and had been empty for a while.
In response to native legend, it was haunted by the ghost of highwayman Ned King. It was in-built 1720s, and was visited by the infamous criminal and Dick Turpin on a number of events earlier than he was executed in 1741.
Turpin then left to move to York whereas King teamed up with landlord Jonathan Briscow to carry up horse-drawn carriages at a close-by crossroads.
It’s unclear how the demolition could have affected the spirit.
This week, Lancashire firms Donelan Buying and selling Ltd and Percliff Ltd, a contractor, had been fined, handed surcharges and ordered to pay prices for 2 offences. These had been demolishing a listed constructing with out permission and never giving the native authority discover of their intention nor receiving discover.
As people, Andrew Donelan, aged 61, Nicola Donelan, 59; Rebecca Donelan, 29, all of of Carr Corridor, Wilpshire; David John Cotterell, 58, of Percliff Method, Blackburn, and Brian Ingleby, 70, of Hollowhead Avenue, Blackburn, had been additionally handed fines, surcharges and prices for his or her particular person involvement.
Rebecca Donelan was responsible of 1 offence of demolishing a listed constructing with out authority. The others had been guilt of each offences.
District Choose Alex Boyd sentenced the businesses and people this week after a trial at Burnley in December.
As he thought of the dimensions of fines and different elements of the sentences, a defence lawyer, David Lawson, described the responsible group’s backgrounds, working lives, firm and personal wealth and belongings, and their completely different roles within the unlawful demolition.
FROM RECYCLED CLOTH TO PROPERTY
Andrew Donelan was the important thing individual behind the Punch Bowl Inn demolition, the defence lawyer mentioned. He’s a director of Donelan Buying and selling Ltd, which purchased the outdated Punch Bowl pub. Nicola Donelan his spouse, is the corporate secretary.
Defence lawyer David Lawson advised the district choose: “This isn’t a straightforward state of affairs to cope with. Now we have to enter the background of those unlucky occasions. Mr Donelan has no earlier convictions and is of excellent character. He started work within the manufacture of recycled material. He gained contracts, together with with the Ministry of Defence, and developed a really profitable enterprise in recycling. He’s broadly recognised as being forward of his time with recycling.
“Through the years, the enterprise developed with haulage and storage models. The fabric business grew with enterprise within the Darwen space particularly. Mr Donelan then went into property facets that finally led him to that fateful choice to purchase the Punch Bowl Inn.”
INTEREST IN PROPERTY
Relating to the Donelan household, the defence lawyer mentioned: “Mr Donelan has three daughters. They didn’t categorical an curiosity in taking-on the household enterprise. However they did categorical curiosity in property. He noticed a chance with that property [the Punch Bowl Inn] to permit the daughters to proceed the Donelan identify.
“It is typically mentioned that the Ribble Valley is an space of excellent pure magnificence. However within the 2010s, the Punch Bowl couldn’t be described as stunning. It had suffered years of neglect. Mr Donelan determined to purchase it in 2015, when its worth could have been £200,000 to £250,000? Their intentions had been good, no matter the prosecution on this court docket case saying they had been reckless. “
The defence lawyer claimed the Donelans then skilled varied fears, challenges and delays with the Punch Bowl over the following few years. There have been additionally ‘lots of of emails’ between them, Ribble Valley Council and others linked to the empty property.
Mr Lawson added: “Among the many folks within the emails had been Mair Hill and Nicola Hopkins, who’re sitting in court docket.”
Mair Hill is Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Head of Authorized & Democratic Companies. Nicola Hopkins is the council’s Director of Financial Improvement & Planning.
The 2 council officers had been in court docket with the prosecution lawyer Killian Garvey, who represented Ribble Valley Council within the case. For readability, Ms Hill and Ms Hopkins labored with the prosecution lawyer. They weren’t charged with any wrongdoing.
‘EXASPERATION AND WORRY’
Defence lawyer David Lawson alleged Andrew Donelan turned annoyed with Ribble Valley Council in attempting to make progress with redeveloping the Punch Bowl constructing and web site. Security and authorized fears had been different components behind the unlawful demolition, he claimed.
The defence lawyer added: “With the best of respect, Ribble Valley councillors and officers didn’t go to mattress at night time, worrying that the constructing would possibly fall on a automobile or a passer-by. Phone calls had been made to the council, saying the constructing was deteriorating and Mr Donelan did not need something to occur. And Mr Ingleby [defendant Brian Ingleby] advised Mr Donelan he couldn’t pass-on legal responsibility to anyone else.”
“The constructing was damaged into. A chimney gave the impression to be leaning. Mr Donelan contacted an engineer. He tried to talk to numerous folks. In between, he was advised he should contact Historic England. Phone calls had been made so some authority may say what needs to be performed. There was a degree of exasperation.
“Finally on June 14, a report was shared. Nicola Hopkins drove by however didn’t go into the constructing. Everyone gave the impression to be in a horrible state,” the defence lawyer alleged.
Mr Lawson added: “The troublesome consideration [in sentencing] is whether or not they took all cheap steps? They engaged with everybody over they years. They spoke to a retired engineer, who had some expertise of demolition. They had been extraordinarily nervous they could face prosecution but in addition that life could also be misplaced. That was on the forefront of their minds.”
The had been additionally considerations about vandalism and fly-tipping on the Punch Bowl. And conversations about company manslaughter, the place firms are held answerable for deadly accidents, it was claimed.
At one level, a Ribble Valley officer had accused the defendants of fly-tipping on the automobile park. Nevertheless it was later found the vegetation was put there by Lancashire County Council when clearing the street. Finally, the Ribble Valley officer conceded he was unsuitable, the defence lawyer added.
Total, Mr Lawson mentioned Mr Donelan, and Donelan Buying and selling Ltd which owned the location, had been silly as a result of they’d misinterpreted some issues and relied on somebody who didn’t perceive the complete necessities. However their intentions had been good due to the danger of hazard to life.
Relating to sentencing and culpability of the completely different folks concerned, the defence lawyer mentioned there was ‘no sophistication’ within the demolition itself or their actions round it.
The Punch Bowl Inn had been a Thwaites pub previously however had modified palms over time. Estimates of £1.5million had been talked about to rebuild it because it was, the court docket heard this week.
In discussing the defendants’ belongings, it was mentioned Mr and Mrs Donelan purchased their Carr Corridor dwelling in 1992. The house was uncommon as a result of it was subsequent to an industrial unit on concrete, with a backyard centre subsequent to it.
One daughter had meant to run the backyard centre however it ‘was a whole failure’, mentioned the defence lawyer. The backyard centre was later modified to storage models , with £1million in expenditure.
Then got here the Covid pandemic and a tenant gave discover on the lease. The commercial constructing was troublesome to promote as particular person models.
Defence lawyer David Lawson mentioned the Donelans had an excellent historical past, paid their taxes, employed native folks and served the neighborhood through the years. Their mitigating options far-outweighed any recklessness within the Punch Bowl Inn case.
Andrew Donelan had good intent. An absence of demolition or constructing contractors in the course of the Covid pandemic led him to Brian Ingleby, the defence lawyer mentioned.
The lawyer then mentioned: “Nicola Donelan is the corporate secretary however in actuality helps Mr Donelan each day. She was the creator of emails however Mr Donelan is the driving pressure behind the enterprise. “
The court docket heard Mr Donelan sat in a single automobile whereas Mr Ingleby carried out the demolition work. It was performed in an hour. Nicola Donelan and daughter Rebecca Donelan had different roles, equivalent to warning site visitors. Rebecca had a walkie-talkie radio.
The defence lawyer added “David Cotterell had a restricted position. He was at dwelling with Covid. He turned embroiled on this as a result of it was a troublesome state of affairs.
“Brian Ingleby had advised Andrew Donelan he couldn’t cross on legal responsibility. He assisted a pal in want. He had good intent. I ask you to cope with all of them leniently. “
WEALTH, INCOME AND ASSETS
District choose Alex Boyd appeared on the people and firms when contemplating their fines, surcharges and contributions to prices.
He mentioned Donelan Buying and selling Ltd was asset-rich regardless of its modest turnover. Property included £3million value of property, a £500,000 ingredient and £235,000 money within the financial institution.
“It has comparatively vital money within the financial institution. They’ve the means to pay,” he added. “If Mr Donelan sees problem with this, he can communicate to me.”
Prosecution lawyer Killian Garvey, performing for Ribble Valley Council, mentioned: “I perceive there are £3.5million in belongings. I realise this [Punch Bowl Inn] would possibly use round £1.5million. I wrestle to see how it could lead them into hassle when there’s £2million residual revenue, primarily based on the worst-case situation.”
RIBBLE VALLEY COUNCIL COSTS
Defence lawyer David Lawson queried the monetary prices calculated by Ribble Valley Council officers in coping with the Punch Bowl case. He mentioned Mair Hill, Head of Authorized and Democratic Companies, had offered an estimate with 70 hours of labor, at a cost charge of round £73 an hour, making round £5,156 in complete. Nicola Hopkins had submitted an estimate too.
However the defence lawyer mentioned: “The top of democratic companies has been appointed to sit down behind the solicitor. The counsel [a legal term for a lawyer] was already instructed. A junior member of employees may have been current or a note-taker as a result of the choice was decided on professional proof within the trial.
“Relating to Nicola Hopkins, why did she should be right here for 3 and-a-half days? Mair Hill was already right here to help the counsel. Some would say Nicola Hopkins’ submission needs to be disregarded.
“The identical with different members of Ribble Valley Council, who gave slim contributions, There are claims for the primary and second day [of the trial in November-December] for witnesses. “
Mr Lawson mentioned one witness, Gez Pegram, gave proof on the primary day.
He added: “Some claims appear extreme. There’s one by one other individual. One is for £6,000. I additionally query why counsel needed to attend some case-management conferences?”
Nevertheless, Killian Garvey, the prosecution lawyer representing Ribble Valley Council disagreed.
He mentioned: “We are saying the court docket prices are cheap. Nicola Hopkins’ cost is £73 per hour. She doesn’t have junior. And this was not only a case of taking notes. Given the general public curiosity within the case, we would have liked specialist advocates in-person. Ms Hopkins was solely on the trial. Her enter has been invaluable in the course of the trial and her attendance was required.”
Mr Garvey then mentioned: “My charges [through a north-west legal system] had been far under the market charge. We predict all prices are cheap and needs to be paid in full.”
Ribble Valley Council had acted effectively, Mr Garvey mentioned. He added: “The defendants declare they made long-running makes an attempt to talk to the council. However the native authority mentioned they had been coping with issues. They do not agree there have been delayed or not engaged.
“For instance, planning permission was given by the council for the pub’s conversion in 2018. It has been instructed the native council annoyed the method. However planning permission exhibits they had been engaged and amenable to an answer.”
Mr Garvey mentioned the unlawful demolition offences had been seen as severe and will end in a jail sentence of as much as two years. Nevertheless, jail was not seen as justified on this case.
He added: “The defendants relied on an professional witness on the trial who didn’t endorse what was performed to the Punch Bowl Inn. Components of the constructing may have been preserved.”
COURT SENTENCES AND PLANNING APPEAL
In court docket, Donelan Buying and selling Ltd was fined £12,000, handed a £1,200 court docket surcharge and ordered to pay £20,000 in direction of prices. A complete of £33,200. Purcliff Ltd was fined £5,600, had a £560 surcharge and advised to pay £20,000 in direction of prices.
Andrew Donelan, aged 61, as a person, obtained a £2,000 fantastic, a £200 surcharge and was advised to pay £2,000 in direction of prices. Nicola Donelan, aged 59, was given a £1,000 fantastic, a £100 surcharge and ordered to pay £1,000 prices.
Rebecca Donelan, aged 29, obtained a decrease £200 fantastic, a £25 surcharge and advised to pay £250 in direction of prices. All three above reside at Carr Corridor, Wilpshire.
Brian Ingleby, aged 70, of Hollowhead Avenue, Blackburn, was fined £1,000, given a £100 surcharge and charged £1,000. David John Cotterell, aged 58, whose handle was given as Percliff Method, Blackburn, was fined £400, given a £40 surcharge and has to pay £400 in direction of prices.
In a separate occasion this week, a nationwide planning inspector dismissed a planning attraction by Andrew Donelan in opposition to Ribble Valley Council, over an enforcement order linked to the city and nation planning system.
The inspector additionally ordered Mr Donelan to pay full prices to the council for his ‘unreasonable’ behaviour in the course of the planning attraction and criticised his conduct to the borough council and inspector in the course of the course of. Prices for the planning attraction are to be confirmed.
Full particulars on the planning attraction are in several Native Democracy Reporting Service report.