Westminster council 'failing to act' over Chippenham Hotel in Maida Vale: Karen Buck
PUBLISHED: 09:42 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:18 13 July 2017
A once-beloved Maida Vale hotel and bar is being neglected by its owners and Westminster council is failing to act, the area's MP has complained.
The Chippenham Hotel on Shirland Road, once a mainstay of the local community, was bought by Israeli developers CLTX in August 2014 and the pub was promptly closed. Now Karen Buck, the Labour MP for Westminster North, has voiced concerns that the building is falling into a state of irreversible dilapidation.
Several weeks ago Ms Buck personally witnessed a glass pane falling from a second-storey window in the building onto a passerby, who escaped with minor injuries.
“I heard her screaming. She had to be taken to hospital but it could have been worse – she could have died,” the MP told the Wood&Vale.
“The building is not just an eyesore – it is dangerous.”
CLTX has previously aroused local animosity; in 2015, the firm suddenly and illegally demolished the Carlton Tavern on nearby Carlton Vale, days before Historic England was due to decide whether the building should be listed.
The developers were later ordered to rebuild the 1920s-style pub brick by brick – though they have yet to do so.
Ms Buck said she blamed the owners for the state of the Chippenham, but also criticised Westminster council for failing to force CLTX to maintain the building.
“Everything has gone dead on the enforcement front,” she said. “It is the local authority’s responsibility – they are the only ones with the power to deal with this.”
Cllr Daniel Astaire, Westminster council cabinet member for planning, said: “Officers have inspected the building and formal action is already being taken to remedy the problem. We are in the process of serving a formal notice under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act on the owners and leaseholders of the Chippenham Hotel as we believe the condition of the pub is adversely affecting the amenity of the area. The council will continue to use its powers to protect local public houses, which are valued by the community and play an important role in local life.”
Ms Buck meanwhile refused to be drawn on whether she suspected CLTX of deliberately allowing the former pub to decay to the point where demolition is the only possible outcome, and the site can be redeveloped as apartments.
The MP did, however, point to a wider context – her constituents’ sense of neglect. “People tell me all the time that the street quality here isn’t as good as in other parts of Westminster. They say dumping isn’t acted against, that the bins are overflowing. They say – you wouldn’t see this in Knighsbridge.”