Save The Cabinet at Reed - a 400-year-old gem and the last pub in the village
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In 2011, the popular, historic and much-loved Cabinet pub in Reed, North Hertfordshire – a Grade II listed building – closed following misappropriation of funds. Soon afterwards it was registered as an Asset of Community Value by Reed Parish Council. Despite approaches to the then owners by various financially credible parties to buy or rent it to run as a pub, it remained closed until 2015, when it was sold at auction to the present owner, a property developer. He carried out numerous alterations to the building to turn it into a house, without applying for planning permission or listed building consent. Notwithstanding numerous complaints from neighbours and from the Parish Council, the local planning authority, North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC), took no action to safeguard The Cabinet.
In September 2016, the owner submitted retrospective applications for planning permission for change of use and listed building consent. This prompted a very sizeable public response – with some 90 written objections submitted to NHDC. The Save the Cabinet Action Group (SCAG) was formed to co-ordinate the campaign to save Reed’s last pub.
Following submissions by SCAG demonstrating, among other things, the viability of The Cabinet as a pub, in July 2017 North Herts councillors refused planning permission for change of use by a sizeable majority. Around 70 village residents and supporters attended the meeting.
The developer has now appealed (case reference: 3188914). The listed building applications remain to be determined.
This case is an important test of the planning system – not only in relation to how it protects community assets such as pubs, but also as to how it deals with unscrupulous developers who deliberately ignore the requirements of planning law in the hope of maximising their profit. It is essential that the appeal is dealt with transparently and openly, with a proper opportunity for interested parties to make representations and for the Planning Inspector to examine all the evidence in detail.
We, the undersigned, petition the Planning Inspectorate to hold a Public Hearing or an Inquiry into the appeal against North Herts District Council's decision to refuse permission for change of use. Under Annexe K of the Procedural Guide for planning appeals, the Hearing or Inquiry Procedure is appropriate because:
- the Inspector is likely to need to test the evidence by questioning, especially on matters of viability and marketing, and
- the case has generated a level of substantial local interest such as to warrant it. The Action Group estimates that between 50 and 60 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 into account. A convenient Village Hall close to the site has all that is required by the Inspectorate for the purpose.
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