Bray pub fights back against RBWM enforcement notice

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

A pub on the High Street in Bray has launched an appeal against an enforcement notice to take down its marquee.

The Crown at Bray is located within the Bray Conservation Area on the greenbelt.

It affixed a large marquee to the external walls of its building – but was issued an enforcement notice in September to take it down, because it put up the marquee without planning permission.

The concern is that, because The Crown is a grade-II listed building, the ‘large and unsightly structure’ could detract from its character.

“Its size and prominence detract from the appearance of the public house and its immediate setting,” Royal Borough officers wrote.

“Given the marquee’s large footprint, its height and irregular, functional form, its materials and extensive ad hoc support system, it is considered to be an incongruous element.

“[It] does not preserve the setting of the listed building or any features of architectural or historic interest it possesses.”

The site neighbours the grade-I listed Jesus Hospital almshouses – ‘historically important’ buildings dating back to the 17th century that remain largely unchanged.

Peaks of the marquee are visible from points within the grounds of the hospital which has ‘radically altered views’, officers wrote.

The Crown’s representative, ArkleBoyce, said the pub’s 16th-century building is ‘much altered’ and ‘does not particularly contribute to the setting of the Jesus almshouses.’

It says the marquee is ‘not prominent’ and is ‘largely hidden’– and that the marquee is located ‘within a garden with no inherent heritage significance’.

ArkleBoyce added that it is ‘imperative’ that the business be allowed to maintain its current level of covers, or it could become ‘unviable’.

“It is clear that there has been a step change in people’s attitudes and behaviours, and it has been noted by the appellant that the strong preference of their clientele is to eat outdoors,” it wrote.

ArkleBoyce claims the restriction would put 48 out of 62 jobs at risk. The Crown wishes to retain the structure for one year to recover loss of trading as a result of the pandemic.

Recently, another nearby pub in a grade-II listed building, The George on the Green in Holyport, was approved a marquee.

In that instance, officers concluded that the marquee would be ‘away from significant public views,’ reducing the harmful visual impact.

The borough also acknowledged the economic need for the covering, saying that preservation of The George is ‘paramount’.

The Crown declined a request for comment.

To see the enforcement appeal documents, enter reference 21/50122/ENF into the Royal Borough application portal.

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