Urgent repairs required for North Warnborough pubBy Stephen Lloyd
January 14, 2013
A FIRE-RAVAGED historic pub should get urgent protection, councillors have ruled.
Hart District Council’s planning committee has agreed an urgent works notice to make the Swan Inn at North Warnborough water-tight.
The Grade II-listed building has been out of action since it was badly damaged by fire in September 2010.
Around 60 firefighters from Odiham, Hartley Wintney, Fleet and Basingstoke helped put out the blaze, with the source of the fire described as a "mystery".
Nobody was injured as the pub was empty at the time, with the previous tenants having moved out the week before.
Scaffolding and a protective covering was put over the building a year ago but this was removed last November, exposing the remaining timber structure to the elements.
Robert Jackson, Hart’s development control manager, warned that if left exposed the timbers would become irreparably damaged and a listed building would be lost.
“It is therefore considered that if works are not undertaken expeditiously then there is a high risk that the building will not be preserved,” he added.
“Hence it is concluded that it is urgently necessary to ensure works are completed via an urgent works notice, particularly before winter sets in.”
Hart is still trying to establish who owns the building.
“Officers are continuing to seek contact with the owners to ensure that the works take place without the council having to step in,” added Mr Jackson.
“However, with the uncertainty of the ownership it may be that an urgent works notice will be necessary.”
Mr Jackson said that in a worst case scenario, the council could compulsorily purchase the building.
“However, there is currently no budget provision of this and the council will have to pay for the works ahead of recovering the costs,” warned Mr Jackson.
“Therefore, the council needs to know what this will be, which will require a specialist survey.
“There is no budget provision of this either and it is likely that this that will probably require specialist access to what could be a dangerous structure.”