Of the demolition of the Old Toby Inn pub in Skelmersdale, Rosie Cooper MP said:
“It is outrageous that this listed building can be demolished under the noses of the council, seemingly without due process having been followed! Since it burned down, many of my constituents have contacted me concerned about the conservation of this site in recognition of its listed historic status.
“People are worried that Developers think the Council planning department is weak at enforcing rules and in this case, developers are taking full advantage of this and are walking all over them.
“When I asked earlier this year what was going to happen to the Toby, I was told that the planning applications had been withdrawn so that the developers could consider how the building could be rebuilt, which would have retained some features relating to the 17 and 19th Century.
“Unbelievably, I am now told that the owners submitted a demolition order to the council last Thursday and 36 hours later demolished the building and the council had taken no action to stop it. To carry out the demolition on this listed building they need permission from Heritage England, and failure to do so is a criminal act!
“I will be urgently asking Heritage England whether the owners gained this consent, and if not, I will be calling for them to feel the full weight of the Law.
“I will press for the maximum punishment for this act of vandalism but I’m sure the developers will hardly flinch at paying a fine out of their profits. The criminal sanction for these actions should be greatly increased.
“We cannot allow companies to treat West Lancashire like their own playground, where they do what they want and face no consequences!”