The 94-year-old Carlton Tavern, in Maida Vale, was knocked down earlier this month just days before it was due to become a listed building. Landlady Patsy Lord was told on Easter Monday to close for an inventory – but when she returned two days later she was stunned to discover that the popular watering hole had been reduced to rubble.

Now furious Westminster City Council chiefs are set to issue the owners with an unprecedented enforcement order demanding that it “recreate in facsimile the building as it stood immediately prior to its demolition.”

The redbrick Carlton Tavern was built by Charrington & Co in the early 1920s and was the only building in its road to survive the German blitz during World War Two. In February this year Tel Aviv-based developer CLTX Ltd was refused planning permission to replace it with flats. The pub’s unexpected and unlicensed demolition came as it was being considered for grade II listed building status.

Westminster council deputy leader Robert Davis said he had been “absolutely horrified” at the “scandalous” destruction. The enforcement order is due to be served once it has been rubber-stamped by a planning committee next week – and the owners will not be able to sell the site until the restoration is complete.

It is believed to the first time a local council has ordered the complete reconstruction of a building – although you rather fear it will be a lot easier said than done…