Council issues injunction after builders' unauthorised work on protected cinema building

Tuesday 19 December 2023: Hillingdon Council has issued an injunction to stop the owners of an historic and protected art deco building in Uxbridge from doing any further building work.

Exterior of Regal nightclub Uxbridge
The order, which will last 12 months, was granted against Frough Limited, its company director and London Empire Hotel Limited, during a hearing at the High Court in central London on Monday 11 December. 

The council began an investigation in November this year, following reports that unauthorised works were taking place in the Grade II* Listed former Regal Cinema in the High Street. 

On visiting the site, the council's planning enforcement team found extensive refurbishment and alteration works were being carried out, with rubble and materials being removed from the site. This was all happening without Listed Building Consent. 

Grade II* Listing is the second-highest level of protection for buildings of high architectural or historic merit. With this status comes rigorous and strict planning restrictions, and consent had not been sought or granted to work outside these limitations. 

The council immediately issued a 'temporary stop notice' requiring all work on the land cease until Monday's hearing in the High Court when an interim injunction was granted restricting further works on the site. 

Under the terms of the injunction, the defendants, or anyone working on their behalf, is prevented from carrying out any further works, alterations, extensions and from demolishing anything on the site or removing any materials off the site. 

Failing to comply with the injunction could lead to Frough Limited being found in contempt of court and as a result being, fined, imprisoned, or having assets seized. 

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Resident's Services, said: "The Regal Cinema building is an architectural gem in Uxbridge High Street and it's an imperative for us to protect the borough's historical and cultural assets as robustly as possible. 

"To carry out works on a Listed building of such high heritage value without the appropriate listed building consent is at best, careless and simply heinous if done deliberately.  

"We're duty bound to preserve such assets for future generations. They tell the story of our borough in a way books and pictures can't match, so this is a brilliant result for residents."  

The council's conservation team is working with Historic England to assess any damage and repair works needed. 

The Regal is considered to be the finest surviving work of the noted cinema architect, Eric Norman Bailey. First listed by Historic England as the "Discotheque Royale" on 15 November 1976, it was originally Grade II and was upgraded to Grade II* in 2000. 

It operated as a nightclub from 1984 until March 2020. It was sold to Mesari Ventures Limited on 1 August 2023 which disposed of the land to Frough Limited the same day.

Page last updated: 15 Feb 2024