'People power' triumphs as scheme to turn former Barley pub into housing is blocked
PUBLISHED: 12:02 21 January 2016
'It's democracy in action' said one Barley villager reacting to the news that an application to turn the old Fox and Hounds pub in the High Street into housing has been rejected.
The Crow reported back in September that 400 people had signed a petition to save the Grade II-listed building from being turned into two homes in an application put forward by Derbyshire-based consultants Paul Gaughan.
North Herts District Council refused the application on Friday, on the grounds that the building is an ‘important local facility’ and that the application is viewed as ‘unacceptable in principle’.
In a report published on the district council’s website, a statement by development and conservation manager Mary Caldwell reads: “The proposed change of use of the public house to residential use would not promote the retention of this important local facility.
“Moreover, the applicant’s viability report and business appraisal has been independently assessed and it is considered that the public house could reasonably be viable with the right purchase price and redevelopment cost being paid.”
The statement also goes on to say that the Fox and Hounds is “an iconic, prominent building in the Barley street scene and has a well-established use as a pub that has provided a social, recreational and cultural purpose over the years.”
An application to build another two bedroom cottage on the land south east of the pub was also rejected, as it would result in the loss of amenity space for the pub.
The owner has already been granted planning permission for a pair of semi-detached properties on a northern parcel of the land.
Stephen Marsh, who lives and works in the village, said: “I think it is excellent, in a measured but jubilant fashion.
“This is democracy in action, thanks to the community’s involvement and publicity in the Crow.
“I’m delighted that what has been one of the best businesses in the area has a chance to flourish again.
“I think the owner should do what he’s failed to do and allow potential purchases to inspect the premises. He had quite a lot of offers.
“There are quite a lot of interested parties who are keen to take it up.”