New planning application made to divide Reed pub is ‘kick in the teeth’

PUBLISHED: 12:01 02 March 2019

The Cabinet at Reed.

The Cabinet at Reed.

Archant

An application to divide a 400-year-old former Reed pub has been submitted to North Herts District Council – two months after plans to turn the premises into a house were refused by the Planning Inspectorate.

The latest planning application for The Cabinet is to split the Grade II-listed building in two – part would be a three-room pub, and the other part a residence.

But the proposal has been greeted with “scepticism and fury” by members of the Save The Cabinet Action Group, whose members say the pub would be smaller and lack facilities.

Mike Howes, action group chair, said: “This is a scheme designed to fail. It would be a pale shadow of the old Cabinet that we all love.

“A tiny pub without any facilities for preparing food and with nowhere for a tenant or manager to live would not last long.

“Nobody should imagine that the owner has suddenly been converted to the Save The Cabinet cause. This is a ruse designed to deliver the money-making scheme he’s been pushing forward all along – to make the whole of The Cabinet into a house, and to build on the existing car park too.”

In January, the owner – property developer Richard Newman – put The Cabinet up for sale or to rent. But the action group argued that the asking price of £595,000 was vastly more than the true market value given in evidence at the three-day public inquiry in December.

Mr Howes added: “After all the effort and the generosity by the Reed community in resisting the planning appeal, this latest application feels like a kick in the teeth.

“We trust the local planning authority, NHDC, will see straight through it.”

Owner Richard Newman disagreed with claims the pub would be smaller, telling the Crow: “I have put an application in for sure, and the pub part would be bigger than the original pub.

“I offered the commercial part to the parish council for £1 and they said they would get back to me. I gave them the plans and forwarded them the information before it went online. I want the community to have a pub back in the area.”

Reed Parish Council Chairman Ken Langley told the Crow: “Mr Newman made a proposition to Reed councillors two weeks ago. There was no mention of £1, but he did invite the council to run a licensed outlet in a small area of The Cabinet premises at a ‘peppercorn rent’.

“An issue for councillors and villagers is whether the outlet proposed could be commercially viable and whether it would meet the wishes of the community to see the Cabinet restored as Reed’s village pub. This seems unlikely, but councillors are giving full consideration to Mr Newman’s proposition. It will be discussed at Reed’s next parish council meeting at 8pm on Wednesday next week at Reed Village Hall. Parishioners and interested members of the public are invited to attend and give their views.

“The Cabinet remains for sale and the meeting is also about Reed Parish Council’s previously announced plans to bid to buy the whole of The Cabinet.”

Those wishing to submit their views to the district council should do so by March 14 at pa2.north-herts.gov.uk/online-applications – using reference 19/00341/FP.

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