Reed campaigners’ relief after planning permission to turn The Cabinet pub into a house is refused

Save The Cabinet campaigners after the planning meeting in Letchworth, where NHDC refused permission

Save The Cabinet campaigners after the planning meeting in Letchworth, where NHDC refused permission to turn the 400 year old pub into a house. Picture: Clive Porter - Credit: Clive Porter

A Reed campaign group fighting to stop their village pub being permanently turned into a house have been given the news they have waited for almost a year to hear.

Members of North Herts District Council refused planning permission to change The Cabinet into a house at the meeting in Letchworth on Thursday evening, which was attended by around 70 campaigners.

Councillors on the planning committee voted by a majority of 10 to two to block the application.

The district councillor for Ermine ward, Gerald Morris, argued that if the pub had not been viable it would not have traded for centuries.

He drew attention to the fact that work had already been done on The Cabinet, and that the planning application was made retrospectively.

He said: “Do not allow our planning system to be used in this way. There are times when I believe we need to send a clear message that this is not acceptable.

“Please let the villagers bring this listed historical building back as a thriving asset for the community, and for the local towns and villages in North Hertfordshire.”

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Mike Howes – chair of the Save The Cabinet Action Group – told the committee that The Cabinet remained viable as a pub, and that there had been continuing interest over time in buying it as such.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Howes said: “We’re naturally delighted and hugely relieved that members of the council demonstrated their good judgement and turned down this deeply unwelcome proposal to convert the last pub in our village into a house.

“There’s a long way to go, but we think this is a hugely important step on the way to getting our pub back.

“We hope now that North Herts District Council will follow the example of other local authorities and properly enforce the law.

“They should require the developer to restore The Cabinet to its former state as a pub, as it was before he made his alterations in clear breach of planning law.”

The 400-year-old pub in High Street closed in 2011 and was put up for sale. It was eventually sold at auction in 2015 to the present owner Richard Newman, who told the Crow last year he had no offers for the pub and that “urgent repairs had been needed to preserve the listed building”.

Following the decision, he has six months to lodge an appeal.

The Crow has contacted Mr Newman, who said he couldn’t make a comment and “didn’t know” if he would be appealing.

For more on Save The Cabinet go to their Facebook page .