AN ARSON-damaged old pub in North Warnborough needs urgent protection from the weather, Hart District Council has warned.

Members of the planning committee have approved an urgent works notice for The Swan Inn, in Hook Road, as they do not think it is weather-tight.

The 19th century pub, a Grade II-listed building, suffered extensive damage to its roof and interior after an arson attack in September 2010. It had been closed due to lack of custom since June of that year.

Nobody has been brought to justice for the fire.

The hostelry’s owners, the Wellington Pub Company, put up scaffolding and a protective covering to protect the remains of the building.

But according to council papers, the scaffolding came down last month, with the Wellington Pub Company claiming they no longer owned the building, despite the change not appearing on the Land Registry or at Companies House.

The council document said: “In these circumstances, the courts have indicated that the council is entitled to treat the registered, and allegedly previous, owner as still responsible for the building.

“If left exposed, the timbers would become irretrievable and a listed building would be lost. It is therefore considered that if works are not undertaken expeditiously, then there is a high risk that the building will not be preserved.”

The urgent works notice, approved by the council last week means that the council can carry out work on the building, and bill the building’s owners.

The planning committee also approved another urgent works notice for a Grade II-listed building in High Street, Hartley Wintney, which was being converted from an office to maisonettes.

Council papers revealed building work stopped last month, but a large hole had been left uncovered on site.

Work on both buildings needs approval from Hart’s Cabinet before it can start.