Caroline Lucas responds after the tiles were removed from the Montreal Arms pub in Brighton Brighton News

CAROLINE Lucas has reacted after a property developer caused outrage by hiring builders to hack vintage tiles from a locally listed pub.

Charlie Southall has abandoned plans to renovate the Montreal Arms in Brighton so Ukrainian refugees can be housed there after neighbors questioned his motives.

Workers began removing green tiles from the Albion Hill pub on Tuesday as Mr Southall handed out a leaflet claiming they were beyond repair.

By 4 p.m. Brighton and Hove City Council had issued a stop notice, at which point much of the tiles had been destroyed.

The Argus: Property developer Charlie Southall sparked outrage after hiring builders to hack vintage tiles from the Montreal Arms in BrightonProperty developer Charlie Southall has sparked outrage after hiring builders to hack vintage tiles from Montreal Arms to Brighton

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas took to social media to share her disappointment.

“This is terrible. Total vandalism of the beautiful Montreal Arms in my constituency of Brighton,” she said.

“I have contacted the landlord to urge him to stop and along with Green Quarter Councilors I am in contact with the Council’s Planning Enforcement Department.

“That absolutely cannot go unchallenged.”

Ruth Boyd, a resident of Hanover, said while the aim was to convert the pub into accommodation for refugees, there was no need to remove the tiles.

“The fact that he chose to attack the ancient tiles – the most visible and arguably most controversial part of the building – feels like a petty and bitter attack on the community,” she said.

The Argus: workers hack tiles from the Montreal Arms in Brighton Workers hack tiles from the Montreal Arms in Brighton

“He doesn’t have a building permit or apparently the funds to do the necessary work for his ‘philanthropic project’ inside the building.

“Instead, he wastes time and money hacking into the perfectly functional exterior of the property, knowing it would bother and offend those of us who want Montreal to continue as a public house.”

Neighbor Ken Frost added: “The speed at which he removes tiles indicates that he wants the change of use to become a done deal.

“I have confidence and I assume that the council will stop this as soon as possible.”

The Argus: workers hack tiles from the Montreal Arms in Brighton Workers hack tiles from the Montreal Arms in Brighton

Mr Southall previously said he bought the pub ‘on a whim’ before launching an £85,000 crowdfunding to redevelop it and allow Ukrainian women and children to live there for three years.

Those plans would have involved a change of use from pub to residential, which Brighton and Hove City Council will now only grant after a venue has been advertised as a pub for at least two years at fair interest-free rent.

A change of use to residential use would significantly increase the value of the building.

The council’s deputy chief adviser, Sue Shanks, said she was “angry” about the situation.

“We believe there has been a breach of planning controls,” she said.

The previous owners, the Stonegate Group, asked to remove the tiles last year. The application was withdrawn in October 2021 after objections.

A leaflet Mr Southall handed out to people asking why the workers were removing the tiles said: ‘The new owner has exactly the same permitted development rights as any other owner in the area, and it is completely legal for exterior features be modified or deleted.

“It’s private property. Please respect the legal rights of the current owner.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-31 07:58:31

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