Pub demolished without permission could be replaced by car park

A property developer knocked down a Merseyside pub without permission and now wants to replace it with a car park.

Rochdale-based Hallmark Developments demolished the Green Dragon Hotel in Whiston at the end of last year, but did not ask the local council for planning permission.

A lawyer for Hallmark Developments told the ECHO that the pub had been demolished without prior permission as it had been out of use for several years and had become a magnet for vandals.

The lawyer said: “The reality is that it is highly unlikely that it would ever trade as a public house again.

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“This situation left the site in an unattractive state, and my client was contacted by local residents following difficulties with the fence to the rear of the property, and the wall to the main Warrington Road.

“Whiston Town Council, which wrote to my client at the end of last year, was also concerned about securing the property and either demolishing it or finding an alternative use. The isolated public house was already attracting graffiti and vandalism by that stage.

“My client decided that the only way the property could be dealt with in a practical sense was by way of demolition.

“Subsequently, at the request of the Council, my client made a planning application for the demolition of the public house and the laying out of further car parking.”

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According to documents submitted to Knowsley Council by Hallmark, the developer now wants retrospective permission to knock down the pub and expand the existing car park to 154 spaces.

The neighbouring William Hill betting shop would also be demolished.

Hallmark’s lawyer added: “The location of the site, so close to Whiston Hospital means that car parking is at a premium.

“It is hoped that the current application will regularise the situation whilst also providing further badly needed car parking.”

A previous application to knock down the pub and the William Hill to make way for a KFC was refused on appeal in 2016, the same year the pub closed.

Two years later, Hallmark Developments was granted permission to knock down the betting shop and replace it with a car park.

However, it was the pub that was in fact demolished and the William Hill remains standing, despite the plans that were actually approved by the council.

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The proposals submitted to the council last month would see the size of the car park almost double, providing additional space for Whiston Hospital across the road.

The new car park will be pay-and-display, but hospital staff will be able to purchase long-term permits, according to the application.

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