Rising from the rubble: London pub rebuilt brick by brick after illegal bulldozing
Standing next to the rubble of the Carlton Tavern, its patrons thought that this was just another brazen example of developers skirting the law to turn their pub into profit.
Bulldozers had sheared away the wall of the 1920s west London pub, with its distinctive tiled signage, to reveal the fully stocked bar and darts trophies still on display.
But the Carlton’s story did not follow the usual plot, where the developer presents the fait accompli to the local authority and pays a fine before pressing ahead with the redevelopment and counting their profits.
Instead, after a dogged six-year campaign by locals, the Carlton Tavern will reopen next month – lockdown permitting – after the developers were ordered to rebuild the pub “brick by brick”, a ruling that pub campaigners say has set an extraordinary precedent.
“People said it was impossible,” said Polly Robertson, a leading member of the Rebuild the Carlton Tavern campaign. “Many people said, ‘Polly, it’s not worth it, nothing’s going to happen’. And I just thought, no – I’m not going to let it lie.”
The reopening comes on 12 April, the day that Covid-19 restrictions are due to be lifted in England to let pubs and restaurants serve drinks and meals outdoors. It is a day that will be celebrated by England’s 33,305 pubs, but by none more keenly than at the Carlton in Maida Vale.
The Carlton Tavern’s last orders were in April 2015. After being denied planning permission to convert it into 10 flats, and two days before Historic England was due to recommend the pub be granted Grade-II listed status, the owners ordered its demolition.
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