A DEVASTATED landlord has slammed his council for ordering the destruction of his beloved pub garden terrace – and it could cost him £8,000.
Paul Dean has dedicated the last 18 months of his life transforming the Alexandra Hotel in Darwen, Lancashire, with good pal John Scott.
The duo have worked tirelessly to put their favourite pub, in which they were regulars themselves for 15 years, back on the map.
After forking out £13,000 on renovations to the outside seating area, the pair have been told it must be torn down.
To add insult to injury, the landlord believes the order has stemmed from just one complaint.
The 48-year-old explained the wooden structure was completed for Bonfire Night last year but its value can be seen any day of the week as it keeps children away from customers smoking at the pub entrance.
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He told Lancashire Live: "We checked with the building owners if we needed planning permission but we were told because it was free standing, it wasn't necessary.
"We got it finished enough to use for Bonfire Night but then a single resident complained about it and it led to us being asked to apply for retrospective planning permission."
The disgruntled landlord claimed locals "complain about everything", including motorbike engines outside the pub.
He added they built the terrace "with the best intentions" after customer demand.
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"We have put our heart and soul into the pub. We barred so many people and sorted out the issues, we really feel like we have saved it," Paul explained.
Despite proving a hit with regulars, the council's rejection stated the structure wasn't "aesthetically pleasing".
Furious at the planning permission refusal, Paul hired a specialist planning consultant to assist with the application.
According to the frustrated landlord, the specialist was "shocked" at the "straight denial", without a site visit first.
Paul claimed: "There has been no conversation with the council, no dialogue at all. We are willing to change it or adapt.
"I feel like our application was just put to one side. We put the shelter up for the health and safety of the children, so they didn't have to walk past smokers at the entrance.
"Parents bring their kids for a bit to play on the grass because they don't have gardens at home."
The 48-year-old explained the structure is still somewhat unfinished because they don't want to fork out any more funds until they have permission.
His next step is to "lawyer-up" and attempt to save himself more than £8,000 for professionals to tear down the terrace.
Paul and John have six months to appeal meaning it could be ripped apart by Christmas.
A report by planning officer Christian Barton stated: “Public comments have been received objecting as additional noise impacts may be caused.
"The covered decking area adjacent to the pub itself makes it more likely that customers will congregate and use this area late into the night."
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Planning Manager Gavin Prescott said: “In short, the structure that Mr Dean has built does not comply with the planning permission Admiral Taverns was granted in 2020 and is of poor design.
"We feel that it would be very difficult to modify the existing structure to an acceptable form.
"The only realistic way forward would be to rebuild the canopy in accordance with the planning permission Admiral Taverns was granted in 2020.
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“A Planning Officer was in touch with the architect during the assessment process, primarily to share concerns over the development’s poor appearance and to be clear that we would not recommend approval of retrospective planning permission.”
Council officials say they have shared a copy of the planning decision report with the landlord’s architect, as well as an explanation "regarding the best way forward".
What are your rights?
Planning permission guidance according to gov.uk
You will need to request planning permission if you wish to build something new, make a major change to your building or change the use of your building – for example starting a business.
To find out if you need planning permission you should contact your Local Planning Authority through your council.
If planning permission is refused you can appeal.
You are able to appeal if you were refused planning permission for reasons that you think go against the LPA’s development plan or planning policy (you can usually find these on their website).
You can also appeal if you were granted planning permission with conditions you object to – you’ll need to explain why you think they’re unnecessary, unenforceable, vague, unreasonable or irrelevant.
Another ground for appeal is if the LPA has not given you a decision on your application and 8 weeks have passed since the date they told you they’d received it (or a different deadline you agreed with them has passed).
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