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Compulsory Purchase of the Swan Inn seems likely

30 Aug 2014

  © Copyright Chris Talbot and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


Last Year the Basingstoke Gazette ran an article on the future of the Swan Inn

Hart District Council are considering serving a compulsory on the Swan Inn, Hook Road, North Warnborough, Hook, RG29 1EX as a last resort to protect the grade II listed property from demolition. An update appeared in today's Gazette.

The true age of the building is unknown as the brick exterior masks an older timber structure.  In 1710 the building was a private residence known as ‘Galloways’.  It was licensed to become the Pub known as the Swan Inn in 1789 which is concurrent to the construction of the adjoining Basingstoke Canal.

The Swan Inn closed its doors in June 2010 due to a lack of trade in September that same year a fire caused by suspected arson wreaked extensive damage which left most of the building a shell. 

Council Officers worked with the owners to preserve the Swan Inn and outbuildings from the weather and to stop the site from becoming untidy and this completed by January 2012.

In February 2012 a planning application (12/00309/LBC ) was submitted by the Wellington Pub Company who are managed by Criterion Asset Management of the 3rd Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP for dismantling and rebuilding a dangerous chimney structure.

The Wellington Pub Company and Criterion Asset Management are part of the Reuben Brothers group of companies who own London’s iconic Millbank Tower.

However in November 2012 scaffolding and the protective shell was removed leaving the already venerable property open to wintery conditions.

The Daily Echo in an article dated 17th August 2013 wrote that the owners could not be found by the council as the Swan Inn was no longer owned by the Wellington Pub Company.

Land Registry records reveal that on the 6th December 2012 the property was purchased for £67,000 by ‘BROOKSET 14 LIMITED (incorporated in the British Virgin Islands) of the 4th Floor, Millbank Tower 21-24 Millbank, London SW1P 4QP’.

A repairs notice was served and work was untaken by Hart District Council to the taxpayers cost of £58,000 to reinstate scaffolding and protect the roof with weatherproof sheeting.  It is uncertain if the council will ever recover the cost of these works from the owners.

Owners of listed buildings can be issued repair notices from the local authority if a survey of the property has shown it to be in a bad state of repair under the Planning (listed buildings and conservation areas) Act 1990.

This legislation also allows a local authority to compulsory purchase with minimum compensation any listed building which has been allowed to deliberately fall into disrepair for the purpose of justifying demolition and subsequent redevelopment of the site.  Such compulsory acquisition is normally used as a last resort to preserve the building.

Before a compulsory purchase order is served it needs to be approved by the Secretary of State. 

When issued the property will fall under the stewardship of Hart District Council who will have the duty to restore this historic building but will locals, walkers, cyclists or boaters ever again enjoy a pint or a pub lunch in what once was the Basingstoke Canals most westerly canal side pub?

Keywords:Swan Inn, North Warnborough, Hook, Basingstoke Canal

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