Carlton Tavern public inquiry ends - but not without controversy

Friends of the Carlton Tavern demonstrate outside Westminster City Hall before a public inquiry ins

Friends of the Carlton Tavern demonstrate outside Westminster City Hall before a public inquiry inside Pic credit: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Final submissions for and against the rebuilding of a Kilburn pub unlawfully demolished ended an “unprecedented” public inquiry yesterday.

Carlton Tavern pub demolished

Carlton Tavern pub demolished - Credit: Archant

The inquiry into the Carlton Tavern in Carlton Vale reduced to rubble by developer’s CLTX was not without controversy.

The five-day inquiry centred on the planning refusal before the pub was reduced to rubble last April and also the council’s enforcement order to rebuild it which followed, both appealed by CLTX.

Saira Kabir Sheikh, QC for Westminster Council, said CLTX’s planning consultant Kieran Rafferty could not be treated as a “credible or bonefide” witness having lied to the inquiry about his qualifications and membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Mr Rafferty told the inquiry last week that he would apply for membership, but he was forced to tell Ms Kabir Sheikh he had not done so.

The pub before it was demolished (Pic credit: Flickr/Ewan Munro)

The pub before it was demolished (Pic credit: Flickr/Ewan Munro) - Credit: Archant

He also had to admit he misled a referee who wrote him a “glowing reference” for his application, by not mentioning his cross examination last Friday.

Members of the public shouted “charleton” as Friends of Carlton Tavern (FOCT) campaigners gave their final submissions.

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Stephen Wilcox, a former government lawyer, criticised CLTX owner Ori Calif, who did not give testimony at the hearing. He said: “The appellant knew planning permission to demolish had been refused and that listing of the premises was a possibility but decided to take matters into his own hands to avoid the financial implications of the premises being listed. The appeal against enforcement order should be refused.”

Robin Banks, of Essendine Road, said the case had to “act as a deterrent” to other companies. “It should deter potential criminals from violating the law so that the rest shall hear and be daunted.”

Ms Kabir Sheikh said in her closing statement: “The appellant should be required to rebuild the Carlton Tavern. No cogent reason has been advanced by the appellant why the notice should not be upheld other than what can only be inferred as a desire not to do so in order to reap the commercial rewards of its unlawful actions.”

Rupert Warren QC, for CLTX, said the weight given to Mr Rafferty’s “views on planning matters” was “for the inspector”. He added: “The community use on the site has, it should not be forgotten, already gone through two evolutions, a 19th century and a 20th century pub. The planning appeal scheme would provide a 21st century pub, but with the substantial land use advantages of co-location with housing.”

Graham Dudley, the planning inspector, gave seven weeks for the decision to be made.