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Illegal building works reported at Victorian pumping station in Nottinghamshire

Enforcement action is being planned against the landowner of a Grade-II listed Victorian pumping station in Gedling after “illegal building works” were reported.

Bestwood Pumping Station, located to the north of Arnold on the A60, was built between 1871 and 1874 by Thomas Hawksley, an engineer for the Nottingham Waterworks Company.

It had been empty since 2017 before the site was purchased in 2019 for £1.5m.

Millions of pounds were invested in the development, most recently called ‘Lakeside’, and it was used as a wedding venue and restaurant until its sudden closure around a year ago.

Now, according to documents published ahead of a Gedling Borough Council Planning Committee meeting on January 10, a series of unauthorised building works have been reported.

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The pumping station, along with the park and garden which features a lake and fountain, are protected alongside the East Lodge.

The illegal building works identified on the site include the reduction in height and alteration of a brick wall attached to the East Lodge, the removal of listed gas lamps, the construction of a metal vent on the pumping station building and the fixing of timber fencing.

Unauthorised advertisements had also been put up on Mansfield Road.

“The loss of the upper part of the boundary wall is considered harmful to the
special architectural and historical interest of the listed building,” documents say.

The gas lamps were listed in 1987 and date back to 1871. They are individually protected.

“The loss of the gas lamps can be categorised as substantial harm since they
are wholly removed from the site and listed in their own right,” documents add.

“The removal of the lamps is considered to have no public benefit at all.”

Other breaches include an extension to the car parking area, as well as the erection of staff, storage and food preparation units, a Santa’s Grotto building and a prosecco bar, barbecue and ice cream hut.

The Santa’s Grotto feature was advertised on Lakeside’s social media pages in 2022.

A listed building application was initially submitted to the council in August 2020, which sought permission for refurbishment works to the East Lodge and the reduction in height of the brick courtyard wall.

No listed building application was received for the removal of the gas lamps or
their repositioning, the construction of a vent on the pumping station building or the timber fencing.

The listed building application was refused in March last year.

A retrospective planning application had been submitted in a bid to gain permission for some of the breaches of planning control, however this was also refused in March.

Permission was only granted for listed building consent for refurbishing the pumping station building.

Council documents add: “The landowner had a meeting with council officers in May 2023 to discuss the site and the unauthorised developments.

“The planning department informed the landowner that there were particular concerns regarding the reduction in height of the brick boundary wall, the removal of gas lamps and the relocation of other gas lamps on the site.

“The landowner said that the gas lamps removed have been kept on site. However, officers have not seen the removed gas lamps.”

At the meeting on January 10, councillors will seek to authorise all relevant planning enforcement action, including the service of any necessary enforcement notices and the issue of proceedings through the courts.

This is to ensure the restoration of the listed buildings to their former
condition, the removal of the unauthorised development and the removal of the unlawful advertisements.

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