Save the village pub in Stocking Pelham

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In 2008 the Cock Inn, a 300 year old grade II listed historic pub in Stocking Pelham, Hertfordshire, burned down. There is no suggestion or evidence that the Cock Inn was in any way under-used or no longer viable at the time of the conflagration. It was a popular, successful and flourishing community asset, now very much missed by Stocking Pelham and neighbouring villagers from Berden, Furneux and Brent Pelhams and walkers, cyclists and visitors from further afield. 

In 2010, planning permission was granted to build two houses contrary to Local Plan policy because the proposal also included the building of a new and improved 'replacement' pub, at the insistence of the local community, led by the Parish Council. The new pub provision was secured (as we thought at the time) by a planning obligation called a Section 106 Agreement.

The two houses have been built, one has been sold, and the other rented. The 'pub' itself has never been finished beyond a rudimentary shell but has been offered for sale at sums considerably in excess of its value as a trading public house in a rural area. Realistic offers have been made for it reflecting the work required to finish it to a trading standard but these have been turned down by the developer. 

1. A planning application to convert the unfinished pub into a house was refused by East Herts District Council last year and the developer has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate to overturn this decision. The Parish Council has been notified that the procedure under which the Inspectorate *at present* will determine the application is by Written Representations- that is, without an opportunity for the community to be heard in person by an Inspector at a Hearing held locally.

 2. A further planning application to turn the unfinished building into a shop and flats has also been submitted but has yet to be determined, and this too has generated substantial hostility. The Village is already provided with sufficient facilities to meet most of its day-to-day bodily needs from the dairy, butcher and florist, as well as a convenience store in Clavering less than 3 miles away.

3. The Parish Council has instructed a planning consultant to prepare a Nomination for the site to be recognised as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act. 

We, the undersigned, petition the Planning Inspectorate to hold a Public Hearing into the appeal against East Herts council's decision to refuse consent. Under Annexe K of the Appeals Procedural Guide, the Hearing Procedure is appropriate because: 

  • the Inspector is likely to need to test the evidence by questioning, especially on matters of viability and marketing, and 
  • to clarify matters relating to the S106 Agreement, and 
  • the case has generated a level of substantial local interest such as to warrant it. The Parish Council estimates that between 30 and 40 residents will attend to witness and take part in the appeal proceedings.

The overwhelming local support for the return of our much-loved and missed community asset needs properly to be taken account of. We have a convenient Village Hall just along the road from the site which has all that is required by the Inspectorate for the purpose. 

 Please hold a Hearing.

 Thank you

 



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