Scaffolding on a pub whose distinctive green tiles were ripped off by its new owner is being taken down today following a visit from a planning inspector.
Workers at the Montreal Pub said owner Charlie Southall told them to take it down today because its licence ran out today and was not being renewed.
They said it could be put back up at a later date.
Brighton and Hove News understands a planning inspector, who is deciding Mr Southall’s appeal against an enforcement notice requiring the restoration of the tiles, visited on Wednesday.
After an inspector’s visit, decisions are sometimes issued within days, but sometimes take months.
Charlie Southall hired a team of builders to tear down the green tiles from the exterior walls of the Montreal Arms in Albion Hill on March 29, 2022.
Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas joined a huge outcry at the damage, describing it as “utter vandalism”, and by 4pm that day, the council had issued a notice requiring him to stop.
An enforcement notice requiring him to replace the tiles like for like was subsequently issued – but is currently on hold pending his appeal.
The appeal to Brighton and Hove City Council’s enforcement notice was made by Mr Southall’s company Dragonfly Architectural Services Ltd on 22 June last year, submitted by his planning agent Connor McCarron.
Final comments were due on 12 September, and a decision date has yet to be set.
Before the deadline for comments, posters were put up on the pub itself, and leaflets through people’s door asking people to support the appeal.
They said the tiled frontage had been damaged before Mr Southall bought the pub in March last year, for £420,000.
It also said Mr Southall had been subjected to “harassment, intimidation and abuse,” and that he wants to retile the pub, but not with like for like tiles.
It also asked the community for ideas for the pub’s future, including reopening it as a pub, cafe or yoga studio, or converting it into a townhouse.
After he bought it, Mr Southall said he wanted to run it as a refuge for Ukranian women and children, and launched a crowdfunder to cover the conversion costs.
But he abandoned his plans after neighbours questioned his motives, pointing out that a change of use would greatly increase the value of the building.
Recently adopted planning rules now state that anyone wanting to convert a pub in Brighton and Hove must put it on the market for sale or to let at a reasonable market rent with no offers for two years before change of use is granted.