A developer has been ordered to stop drilling holes into the granite walls of Putney Bridge.
Wandsworth Council successfully applied for a court injunction to stop Putney-based developer Clifford Gardner from carrying out further work on the Grade II listed bridge after learning that a large diamond tipped drill had been used to cut through the granite wall to open up the vaults that lie underneath.
The vaults are connected to the basement of a vacant commercial property at 4-6 Putney High Street. Plans have been submitted to open up the vaults and use them as a riverside restaurant or bar with views of the Thames, but planning consent has not been granted by the council.
Planning applications chairman Councillor Leslie McDonnell said: "While we are keen to see this prominent landmark building at the top of Putney High Street brought back into use, and have agreed in principle that the vaults can be used to achieve that objective, we have not given any permissions that would allow someone to come along and start drilling holes in the bridge wall.
"This is a very serious breach of planning law, which is why we sought the injunction as soon as we discovered what was happening. Luckily we managed to intervene before any serious structural damage was caused to the bridge. Now we will be taking further legal advice to determine our next move which could include prosecution and enforcement action to restore the bridge wall."
The interim injunction prevents Mr Gardner from carrying out any further work to the bridge and bars him from entering Watermans Green.