Chippenham Hotel: Fears over Maida Vale pub’s future as demolition notices appear on the building

Demolition notices on the Chippenham Hotel in Shirland Road (Picture: Rob Cope)

Demolition notices on the Chippenham Hotel in Shirland Road (Picture: Rob Cope) - Credit: Archant

A Maida Vale community fears the loss of another much loved pub after demolition notices appeared on the Chippenham Hotel.

Chippenham Hotel

Chippenham Hotel - Credit: Archant

Mystery surrounds the once popular watering hole in Shirland Road which has sat empty since it was sold by Punch Taverns to an offshore investment company called Portinex back in 2014.

A planning application to provide additional hotel accommodation was lodged a year later, the ground floor bar gutted and its use changed to retail.

In August, Westminster Council issued the Chippenham owners with a section 125 notice stating work must be carried out within two months to redress the visible neglect. Campaigners say this has been ignored and the bar doesn’t look any different.

Adding to the confusion, Heritage Corporate Services, which is leaseholder for the ground floor and basement, was sold last year to Bermuda-based Estera, leaving everyone in the dark.

Geoffrey Barraclough, Labour candidate for Maida Vale ward, said: “The owners don’t have permission to do any major works to the Chippenham so demolition would be illegal. There is a great business opportunity for the right management to run a busy community pub serving the thousands of people who live within a few minutes’ walk. Yet for five years it’s been sitting there, derelict, doing nothing for the area.”

However, locals fear the pub will face the same fate as the Carlton Tavern, in Carlton Vale, which was illegally bulldozed by Israeli developer CLTX in April 2015.

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That pub is sitting empty despite a public inquiry ruling in 2016 that the pub must be rebuilt brick by brick “in facsmile”.

Campaigner Elaine Arthur said: “We’re worried that The Chipp could end up like the Carlton Tavern which was demolished overnight and is yet to be rebuilt.”

She added: “We’re fed up with developers taking away important community spaces like pubs just to profit from their land value.

“They shamelessly let these historic buildings deteriorate and they hide their identity overseas which makes it impossible to communicate with them. The community needs much better protection from these developers.”

Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, added: “Westminster Council must act urgently to stop the Chippenham Pub being illegally demolished in the same way the Carlton was illegally demolished.

“After three years the Carlton remains unbuilt so we know what will happen to the Chippenham if the owners are permitted to get away with such behaviour.”

A Westminster Council spokesman said: “The council is acting to prevent this property falling further into disrepair. We have already issued a notice requiring the removal of the metal shutters over the doors and windows and the removal of the flyposting, which the owners have now done.

“We will continue to monitor the property.”

Estera and Chippenham architects Brooks Murray Architects, named as the developer’s agent on planning applications in 2015, have both failed to respond to requests for comment.