Thu, 31 Oct 2019
AN ‘eyesore’ pub cannot yet be demolished after plans to turn it into a car park were refused.
Murdoch’s, on the Bath Road, Calcot, has been derelict since it closed in 2013.
Developers who own the site wanted to demolish it and turn it into a car park, but West Berkshire Council (WBC) has refused permission for the plans.
Kevin Page, of Tilehurst Parish Council, told WBC’s eastern area planning committee on October 30 that the car park would “replace one blot on the landscape with another one”.
The parish council is also concerned about the extra traffic that would be caused, especially on the bend at the bottom of Langley Hill, and traveller incursions.
Applicant Robert Teesdale said he wanted to develop the land for houses, but couldn’t at the moment because of Brexit uncertainty – so the car park would be just temporary.
Mr Teesdale said there would security on the car park 24 hours a day, as well as CCTV.
He said the current site has faced problems with travellers and drug users. He said needles and human faeces had been found in the pub.
He said: “The building has caused immense problems to us. The site is really rather unattractive at the present time.”
Graham Pask (Con, Bucklebury) asked: “Why don’t you demolish it?”
Mr Teesdale replied: “I’m not allowed to.”
He said planners previously told him he could not start demolishing the pub without getting approval for plans to build the car park or houses.
Peter Argyle (Con, Tilehurst South and Holybrook) said: “It’s an eyesore. I’m not sure how many people would actually use it for parking.”
Mr Argyle read a statement from Richard Somner (Con, Tilehurst South and Holybrook), who said: “It’s an embarrassment to anyone who cares about this area.”
Tony Linden (Con, Tilehurst Birch Copse) said: “It’s a complete eyesore. People can park at Sainsbury’s. We really need to develop this for housing as soon as possible.”
Mr Pask said: “If the applicant came back with a demolition plan, I would support it wholeheartedly.”
Councillors voted unanimously to refuse permission.