Woodman pub owners fined over flats conversion

The Woodman in happier times (picture: beerintheevening.com)
From Greenwich Council – another sad story about a former local pub.

Greenwich Council has successfully prosecuted a real estate firm after it illegally converted a former pub in Charlton into eight flats.

The Woodman Pub on Little Heath in Charlton was turned into apartments by Cheltenham Real Estate LLP. However, the owners failed to comply with any statutory requirements to carry out the work, including failing to gain planning permission or Building Regulations approval. It means the flats were not inspected for fire and structural safety and other standards before they were let.

Greenwich Council brought the prosecution over health and safety concerns for the tenants. Cheltenham Real Estate LLP was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1430 costs after pleading guilty at Woolwich Magistrates Court to contravention of the Building Regulations 2000.

Most building work needs Building Regulations approval and without it enforcement action may be taken. This could also mean future difficulties with selling, buying or financing a property. Greenwich Council has now also served Cheltenham Real Estate LLP with an enforcement notice for an alleged breach of planning control. Planning permission is needed for conversions which change the use of a building.

Councillor Maureen O’Mara, Greenwich Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement said: “It was both illegal and utterly negligent of this firm to house tenants without following the correct procedures and checking whether their building complied with health and safety standards. These regulations are there for a reason, namely to protect innocent people and this case should serve as a reminder to any individual or firm carrying out building works that they MUST seek Building Regulations and planning approval. Most projects require it and lives could be lost without it. Greenwich Council will act promptly in any failures to do this, as this case clearly demonstrates.”

Anyone considering building work should contact Greenwich Council’s Building Control team on 020 8921 5413 and Planning Department on 020 8921 5222/5019 for information and advice before proceeding.

4 thoughts on “Woodman pub owners fined over flats conversion

  1. Chris June 7, 2011 / 11:48

    Are all the apartments still occupied? If so, and the tenants are paying rent, then I would say this is a very nifty bit of business by Cheltenham Real Estate. Have they been granted planning permission retrospectively? If there are occupants, presumably they must have.

    Total fines/costs of 4,430 quid would almost certainly be less than one month’s rental income from eight apartments.

    If the occupants have been booted out, would they be able to sue the developers?

  2. antonia June 7, 2011 / 11:55

    Another concern is that the pub is being converted into a corner shop, when there are already two in that block. They’re obviously fearing for their livelihoods.

  3. Deptford dame June 7, 2011 / 12:21

    What a pitiful fine. No wonder they didn’t bother with following official procedures if this is all they had to pay.

    • Chris June 7, 2011 / 13:12

      That’s my point DD!

      It must pay them to ignore all the red tape — and its consequent expense — and then just swallow the fine of less than one month’s rental income.

      Surely this can’t be the case and I’m being too simplistic??…..

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