October 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 17, 2014
A pub that was shut down after a fire has been sold for development – although it is not yet clear what it will become.
The North Star pub on Old North Road in Royston has been closed since a fire broke out in the basement in January 2012, when 35 firefighters attended the scene to battle the blaze.
The pub had just been refurbished prior to the fire, which was caused by an electrical fault when no one was inside the building.
Everard Cole, a Cambridge-based commercial property consultancy which specialise in leisure, sold the pub last month to an unnamed developer.
Managing director Tom Nichols said: “I think it’s unlikely to remain as a pub. It looks like the existing building will be retained and there is some scope for development behind it, but obviously the pub hasn’t been used since the fire and it is in terrible condition at the moment.
“I don’t think it’s completely out of the question for it to be re-opened as a pub, but there’s competition now with the new JD Wetherspoon nearby in Melbourn Street and people are likely to migrate towards that. It has been sold to a local developer but I am unsure what type of development it will be.”
Malcolm Chapman, pub preservation officer for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) North Herts branch, said: “It’s sad to lose any pub at the moment, we know we have to lose a few, but at CAMRA we’re against the loss of any pub within reason.
“We wouldn’t be Britain without pubs, they are a central part of our culture and history. Pubs are struggling at the moment because landlords are overtaxed and people can go and buy horrible booze from supermarkets at a cheap price rather than going to their nearest pub.
“Pubs are a community asset that can provide endless services as meeting places and it’s a real shame when they close down.”
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