What is the SOSPUB Campaign about?
The Station Pub closed its doors on 9th February 2017, after having been offered for sale by Greene King. It is unclear at the moment whether or not the pub has been sold unconditionally. It has been suggested that Greene King have sold it to Market Homes Limited, a company which specialises in acquiring sites without planning permission, suitable for residential development. You may be interested to read this article on the Knebworth Parish Council website.
The pub has been registered as an Asset of Community Value by NHDC on 8th February 2017, in response to a request by Knebworth Parish Council. Now that the pub has been listed as an Asset of Community Value it cannot be offered for sale in the future or demolished without triggering a process by which a community group is given the opportunity to put forward a bid. For more information about the Community Right to Bid, please see this non-statutory advice note produced by the DCLG for local authorities, you can download it here
An initial public meeting to start the SOSPUB Campaign was held on Thursday 23rd March 2017 at Knebworth Village Hall which gave an opportunity to hear more and to allow local people to express their views.
Planning Application / Revised Planning Application
The current owners have put forward a planning application to change the use of the site in part or whole and that is subject to the normal planning process via NHDC. Knebworth Parish Council considered the application as a statutory consultee at a meeting on 2nd August 2017 and decided to object to the application. The deadline for public consultation on the application was 28th August 2017, and for the revised application 31st October 2017 then extended to 28th December 2017.
You can read the comments made by the statutory consultees, such as Knebworth Parish Council, as well as members of the public - search with this application number 17/01622/1 on NHDC's planning portal: http://pa.north-herts.gov.uk/
The application has to be considered by North Herts District Council's Planning Control committee, rather than by delegated decision by NHDC officers, as it has been "called in" by Cllr Steve Hemingway to ensure discussion. The agenda for each meeting is made available around two weeks ahead of time, with both the dates of the meetings and the agenda available on NHDC's website. The meetings are open to the public and usually held in Letchworth.
The planning application (17/01622/1 as amended) for the Station Pub was rejected unanimously by NHDC's Planning Committee at their meeting on Thursday 19th April. The whole team is delighted that our arguments against the application to re-develop the Station Pub persuaded the NHDC Planning Control Committee to reject it unanimously in its meeting. This was a major achievement given that the recommendation of the NHDC Officer was to grant permission. Lisa Nash, Roger Willcocks and Stephen Hemingway all spoke against the application. Thank you to everyone who has helped with the SOSPUB campaign over the months, and those that came in support to the committee meeting.
The report from the officer is recommending Consent to planning permission is given. This is available to read here together with the plan of the site and the representation letter from Knebworth Parish Council. You can also obtain these documents direct from NHDC's website, together with the agenda for the meeting here