A £20,000 fine sends a ‘clear message to owners of listed buildings they cannot just do whatever they want’ – a council officer has said.

The chair of the planning and development committee for Ribble Valley Borough Council, Alison Brown, said the sentencing of the five people found guilty of demolishing the Punch Bowl Inn in Longridge Road, Hurst Green, was a ‘success’ after the defendants were handed fines totalling more than £20,000 and costs of nearly £50,000.

A rejected appeal from the Planning Inspectorate against a council enforcement notice also means Donelan Trading Limited must restore the building to its former state.

Donelan Trading estimates it will cost around £1.5 million to rebuild the Grade-II listed old pub that was torn down unlawfully.

Lancashire Telegraph: The site of the Punch Bowl Inn which must be rebuilt within 12 monthsThe site of the Punch Bowl Inn which must be rebuilt within 12 months (Image: Lancashire Telegraph)

Ms Brown said: “This case sends a clear message to the owners of listed buildings that they cannot just do whatever they want.

“We take our responsibility for protecting the built environment seriously and, as this case illustrates, will not hesitate to take action against those undertaking works on listed buildings unlawfully or without consent.

“The court has sentenced the owners of the Punch Bowl Inn to significant fines for unlawful demolition of a listed building and failing to notify the local authority that they intended doing so.

READ MORE: Five fined £20,000 for demolishing Punch Bowl Inn - and ordered to rebuild pub

“The Planning Inspectorate has also roundly dismissed an appeal by the owners of the Punch Bowl against a council enforcement notice compelling them to restore the building to its former state, including its external appearance and internal structure, and in the location shown on the original plans.

“Additionally, the Inspectorate has made a full award of costs in the council’s favour.

Lancashire Telegraph: The Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst GreenThe Punch Bowl Inn in Hurst Green (Image: Archive)

“This has been a long, drawn out and complicated case and I would like to thank our planning and legal officers for their skill and expertise in bringing it to a successful conclusion.”

Last year, District Judge Alex Boyd found Andrew Donelan, 61, Nicola Donelan, 59, and Rebecca Donelan, 29, all of Carr Hall, Whalley New Road, Wilpshire; David Cotterell, 58, of Percliff Way, Philips Road, Blackburn; and Brian Ingleby, 70, Hollowhead Avenue, Wilpshire, guilty of unlawfully demolishing the pub following a trial at Burnley Magistrates Court.

READ MORE: Punch Bowl Inn ghost tour guide 'shock' at pub demolition

Andrew Donelan, Nicola Donelan, Cotterell and Ingleby were also found guilty of failing to notify the local authority of the intended demolition.

On Wednesday (March 8) at Blackburn Magistrates' Court, District Judge Alex Boyd handed the group a total fine of £22,250, prosecution costs of £44,650 and a £2,225 surcharge - a total payment owed of £69,125.