Published: 12:00, 13 October 2016
A council has been forced to allow more demolition to an already half-standing pub which was torn down illegally - and after false promises.
earlier this week.
Neighbours reported the machines turning up to Coldharbour Road, Northfleet, under the cover of night to start the work, undetected by council officers.
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Putnam Construction Services, contracted to carry out the work, were forced to stop as soon as the council got wind of the work, but then continued to illegally demolish the site yet again once the council officer's had left.
Now there is so much gone, it has been deemed dangerous by Gravesham council and more needs to be knocked down to make it safe.
Developers Caldecotte Group applied to the council on October 5 to request a determination as to whether permission was needed prior to demolition of the building.
That application has not been decided and on October 7 the developer confirmed in writing that “demolition will not begin until the prior approval application is determined”.
A spokesman for the council said: "Planning officers were astonished when they visited the site on October 12, because demolition had begun.
"The site foreman said one wall had been rendered unsafe and would have to be removed but agreed to stop work until a further building control visit later that day.
"Officers returned and were shocked that much more of the building had been knocked down.
"A structural expert examined the building later that afternoon and reported that a large section of it had been rendered dangerous and now needed to be demolished.
"The council is seeking an explanation from the developer."
In April 2012 an application to build a pair of semi detached houses on the site was approved but that permission has now lapsed. There are no other planning applications pending there.
Putnam Construction Services, contracted to carry out the work, have declined to comment.
As has the Brakspear Brewery owned by the applicant for the demolition J. T Davies & Sons.
Paul Sturgess of the Caldecotte Group and the pub's manager Phil Davies have been contacted for a comment.
The Battle of Britain pub was originally a wooden hut which stood behind the current building’s location. It was created by RAF personnel in 1947.
It was built to commemorate a wartime event, when Gravesend was the first RAF station to operate the American P-51 Mustang III long-range single-seat fighter-bomber.
In 1961, the owners of the pub purchased Shears Green House, which became the current Battle of Britain pub. The old hut was demolished in May 1962.