A developer has been given the all-clear to knock down a former bus garage in Garston.

The locally listed building in St Albans Road is now set to come down by the end of this year.

Applicants Fairview New Homes was seeking prior approval from Watford Borough Council to demolish the former bus depot and office building known as Marchwood House.

The application has been considered by a planning officer who has said prior approval is "not required" for the proposed demolition.

This is because demolition is allowed under permitted development rights and under the relevant Government legislation for this particular application, the status of the site or buildings did not make it exempt from these rights.

Watford Observer: Marchwood Hous. Credit: Google MapsMarchwood Hous. Credit: Google Maps

According to Historic England, some buildings can be demolished without planning permission and local listing does not affect that.

A planning term known as an 'Article 4 direction' can restrict permitted development rights and force a requirement for planning permission for a locally listed building or other type of building, such as an office.

Although article 4 directions have been put in place by Watford Borough Council in some locations in Watford, such as industrial estates and employment areas, the Garston bus garage site is not covered.

In 2019, one of the reasons councillors on Watford Borough Council's planning committee voted to turn down an application to redevelop the bus garage site into 165 flats was because they didn't want to lose the locally listed buildings.

Planning committee member Cllr Mark Watkin described it as a "landmark" building at the time.

Watford Observer: The bus garage before it shutThe bus garage before it shut

Fairview New Homes, which bought the site for £10.1 million at the beginning of 2019, plans to demolish the buildings between September and December this year, according to a site notice.

The developer currently has plans pending for a development of 127 flats in five buildings ranging from three to five storeys.

Watford Observer: CGI of the proposed pending scheme. Credit: Fairview New HomesCGI of the proposed pending scheme. Credit: Fairview New Homes

The planning application can be found on the council's planning portal. The reference is 21/00698/FULM.

The application to demolish the buildings, including the officer's decision report, can be found searching reference 21/01185/DEM.