A public inquiry, which started on Tuesday, will decide whether the demolished Carlton Tavern in Carlton Vale, should be rebuilt âbrick by brickâ as ordered by Westminster Council.
The Carlton pub was the only pub in the street to survive the blitz of world war 2 and was built in 1918
CLTX reduced the pre-war pub to rubble without permission last April.
The Israeli-owned company is appealing a rejected application to replace the pub with housing and a subsequent enforcement notice from Westminster Council to rebuild it.
Kieran Rafferty, planning consultant to CLTX, was put under the spotlight as his membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the wording of his evidence was cast into doubt during the hearing. In his opening statement Mr Rafferty, who is a witness for the Israeli-based company CLTX that demolished the pre-war pub last April, said: âI took no part in the decision to demolish the building and the decision was regrettable.â
However, under cross examination, Saira Kabir Sheikh, QC, acting for Westminster Council, accused Mr Raffertyâs evidence of being âmisleading, unfair and a document the inspector can put no weight on.â
Ms Kabir Sheikh said: âWe were informed yesterday that you are not a full member, not any member of the RTPI nor have you ever been one.â
Mr Rafferty said: âI joined through an ancillary thing, I know that it has lapsed.â
Whilst it is not a requirement for Mr Rafferty to be a member of the RTPI to carry out his work, Ms Sheihk added: âIf you have been a member you will produce those documents, if you donât, your evidence and credibility will be in question.â
Referring to his evidence, Ms Sheikh pointed to the âcore strategyâ policy Mr Rafferty quoted at length and said: âCore Strategy ceased to exist in this City in 2013. Theyâre non existent policies.â
She added: âIt is irresponsible and incompetent of you to be quoting from policies that havenât existed for well over two years.â
But Mr Rafferty replied: âAgain this is a cut and paste error.â
Questions ensued about the suitability of the replacement building that was refused planning permission by Westminster Council to build a basement pub and ten flats on the site.
Mr Rafferty agreed that the âstrength of community feelingâ should be considered when the inspector makes his decision whether or not to uphold the enforcement appeal that would see the rebuilding of the pub âbrick by brickâ.
But added: âThe strength of feeling has been the result of demolishing the buildingâ and that ârebuilding [the pub] brick by brick will not deliver significant community benefitâ.
Mr Rafferty also admitted to consulting the âbiggest users of the pubâ â the hockey team â but that he did not consult personally with the wider community.
The inquiry continues on Tuesday with an opportunity for Mr Rafferty to provide a membership card and number to back his credentials.
A site visit is also due to take place.