An application to turn land on which a former Grade II listed pub once stood into a holiday park has been refused by the council.

In October Ribble Valley Borough Council launched an investigation into the unlawful demolition of The Punch Bowl Inn on Longridge Road in Hurst Green.

It is alleged that landowners, Donelan Trading Ltd, razed the listed building to the ground in June without permission, leaving villagers shocked and upset.

Lancashire Telegraph:

While legal proceedings against the firm remain ongoing, at a planning meeting last week it was decided to refuse the application to change the use of the land into a 15-pitch static caravan holiday park.

Historically, Donelan’s had been granted permission in 2018 to convert the pub into a holiday park, after previous applications had been refused or withdrawn, and in December, an amended application was submitted to the council.

Investigation into demolition of Punch Bowl Inn 'ongoing' as council contact landowner for answers

However, following the shock demolition, objections have since been made from the Parish Council, on the grounds that the plans would result in ‘over-development of the site, highway safety, demolition of the Punch Bowl as a grade two listed building, visual amenity (no screening; obtrusive; design of static caravans) and harm to AONB’.

The Parish Council also said the applicant could ‘no longer piggy-back a holiday park on the back of an existing hospitality venue’.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Although no objections were raised by Highways, a further 11 objections were submitted from residents, who cited demolition of a listed building; not in-keeping with a re-built Punch Bowl Inn; highway safety; and visual amenity, among others, as their main concerns.

Court date set over unlawful demolition of Punch Bowl Inn

A report to the planning committee stated: “Whilst the component materials of the building are retained in situ the demolition of the building has resulted in the loss of an important heritage asset recognised by its listed status.

“The demolition is subject to separate legal action.

“The application was recommended for refusal for the following reasons - the proposed development is harmful to the setting of the listed building because it is unduly prominent, incongruous, conspicuous, discordant and dominant in location, scale, form and materials.

“The proposed development is harmful to the character of the open countryside in the immediate setting of the Forest of Bowland AONB because it is unduly prominent, incongruous, conspicuous and discordant in the landscape.”

In January Ribble Valley Borough Council started proceedings in response to the demolition of the Punch Bowl Inn and an initial court hearing was scheduled for March.

This was however adjourned so that Andrew and Nicola Donelan could enter their pleas.

At the time, Ribble Valley Borough Council’s director of economic development and planning, Nicola Hopkins, said: “We have started proceedings in response to the demolition of the former Grade II-listed Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green and an initial hearing is scheduled for Blackburn Magistrates Court in March.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

The pub has a colourful and symbolic history - visited by highwaymen Dick Turpin and Ned King in the late 1730s and the ghost of ‘Old Ned’ was said to still roam the pub.

Standing in Longridge Road since the 1720s, the Grade II listed building was put up for sale for £375,000 in 2013.