DEVELOPERS who demolished an 18th century Sydenham pub building without permission have been successfully prosecuted by Lewisham Council.

Last March, the Greyhound in Kirkdale was knocked down, leaving just the front wall intact, despite it being in a conservation area banning demolition without council consent.

Developer Pure Lake had previously gained permission to build flats on the site, along with redeveloping the pub itself, and the move led to calls for court action against the company.

The council did so and, at Bromley Magistrates' Court on March 19, Pure Lake admitted the unauthorised demolition.

They were ordered to pay £13,000 in costs to cover the council's legal expenses along with an additional fine of £5,000.

In deciding on the fine, the court took into account the guilty plea and that Pure Lake intended to rebuild the pub using original materials.

Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: "This is an excellent result for local residents who were shocked by the unauthorised demolition and my thanks go to those council officers who worked hard to achieve this outcome.

"I am staggered that a developer would demolish a building in this way. I hope the court's decision sends a strong message to other developers that they need to respect the legitimate requests made by local authorities."

Councillor Liam Curran, who had campaigned to keep the pub going, said: "It think this fires a shot across the bows of any developer which wants to flout Lewisham's planning regulations.

"Lewisham's heritage isn't there to be plundered at any cost."

Pure Lake director Gerry Dowd had claimed at the time of the demolition that it had been necessary because of "structural problems" at the building, partly caused by a fire.