If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And that is exactly what companies solely owned by Sir Roger Michael De Haan (pictured) have done.
On the 27 May, 2015, Folkestone Habour Nominee (1) Ltd and Folkestone Harbour Nominee (2) Ltd, owned by Sir Roger Michael De Haan purchased the Princess Royal Inn, 28 South Street, Folkestone CT20 1RW, from Shepherd Neame for £191,750, according to Land Registry documents.
The building is located within the Folkestone Leas & Bayle Conservation Area. It was described by KCC Archaeology in 2017, as a:
“key building for development or enhancement that could add visual interest and focus to this part of the Conservation Area“
“should be considered as a non-designated heritage asset that has the potential to make a positive contribution to the character of the Conservation Area.”
The pub was purchased by the Shepherd Neame Group in 1990 as part of a £5.85 million deal for 33 public houses in Kent, London and the south east. In late 2009 the pub closed and was boarded up. For a full history of the pub one can read that ⇒ here
Since Sir Roger’s companies purchased it nearly seven years ago, two applications for demolition of the building have been made.
The first was in Jan 2017, under reference – Y17/0059/SH. The application type was for full planning permission. The application was withdrawn in April 2018.
The comments made by KCC archaeology officer, at that time, were most pertinent, when he stated:
I do not feel that the present Design & Access Statement, or Heritage Statement, provides sufficient information on the significance of the building to be demolished. Indeed the Heritage Statement provides very little information on the building and no discussion or analysis is provided as to the building’s contribution to the character of the Conservation Area.
The second application was made in Jan 2022, under reference 22/0109/FH. This time rather than making a application for full planning permission to demolish the Princess Royal, Sir Roger and his agent have made the application under – demolition in a conservation area. However, it would appear this is the wrong application type, as Historic England state:
A building in a conservation area is not to be demolished without consent of the local planning authority. It is a criminal offence to fail to obtain such consent in the form of planning permission.
Have they made the wrong type of application? From what Historic England state on their website, the answer is an unequivocal YES.
It would appear Sir Roger and his agent may be about to commit a criminal offence, if they go ahead and demolish the building, which can proceed as early as Thursday 3 March, 2022.
Also there is no Design & Access Statement or Heritage Statement, in the second application, as there was in the first application, plus they’ve stated it is an unsafe structure. However, given the images below, it is a dangerous building which is covered under the Building Act 1984.
The term ‘dangerous structure‘ covers not only buildings or parts of buildings ie loose slates or tiles, but also such things as garden walls, fences or hoardings. In fact, any structure, which could by its condition endanger persons.
There are two types of dangerous structures:
Imminent: structures which are at risk of collapse and must be secured for public safety. The owner will normally be recharged for emergency works carried out in these cases
Hazardous: structures which from a survey are unstable but not imminently dangerous. In these cases the owner is given a reasonable time to remove the danger. Failure to respond may result in a Magistrates Court Order being obtained.
It is clear that the Princess Royal falls into the second category. So, why didn’t the Council instruct Sir Roger’s companies to remove the danger when it first became apparent?
It is only the walls on the ground floor which are to be retained, as the images below make clear. The overall character of the building will more likely than not disappear, when whatever is going to replace it, is built.
A question which is pertinent to ask is:
How has the building been allowed to become ruinous and dilapidated to such an extent that it is a dangerous structure?
We are not saying it was a deliberate act by the owner. But now it has become a dangerous structure, for reasons unknown, it will not ‘make a positive contribution to the character of the Conservation Area.’
The demolition notice makes it clear the building can be torn down , apart from the walls to be retained, on Monday 28 Feb, 2020. However, that said the earliest decision date for any demolition could start is Thursday 03/03/2022, as that’s the earliest date a decision will be made by the Council’s planning department.
Will the Council force Sir Roger, and his agent, to withdraw the current application and make a fresh one? If they don’t they’ll be allowing a criminal offence to take place, according to Historic England. Nobody would like to see Sir Roger, and his agent, hauled before the courts for such a mistake made by highly paid ‘experts’.
We hope they’ll withdraw the application, and resubmit the correct type of application, as they did on the first occasion in Jan 2017, for not even we – the Shepway Vox TEAM – would like to se Sir Roger, and/or his agent, hauled before the courts regardless of what many might think.
The Shepway Vox Team
Being Voxatious is NOT a Crime