Cabinet pub supporters urged to turn out in force at public inquiry

PUBLISHED: 09:31 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:18 23 October 2018

Save the Cabinet supporters at a previous pop-up pub event. Picture: Clive Porter

Save the Cabinet supporters at a previous pop-up pub event. Picture: Clive Porter

Clive Porter

Campaigners hoping to stop the 400-year-old Cabinet pub in Reed being turned permanently into a house are urging supporters to turn out in force when the planning appeal is heard in two weeks’ time.

October's pop-up pub night at Reed Village Hall was held to raise money for the Save the Cabinet Action Group's fighting fund. Picture: Clive PorterOctober's pop-up pub night at Reed Village Hall was held to raise money for the Save the Cabinet Action Group's fighting fund. Picture: Clive Porter

The current owner of the Grade II-listed pub, property developer Richard Newman, is seeking to overturn the decision of North Herts District Council last year to refuse retrospective planning permission for change of use.

The Planning Inspectorate announced the inquiry in April, and the appeal is set to be heard over a three-day hearing – from Tuesday to Thursday, November 6 to 8. It will take place at the council offices in Letchworth’s Gernon Road, starting at 10am on the first day.

October's pop-up pub night at Reed Village Hall was held to raise money for the Save the Cabinet Action Group's fighting fund. Picture: Clive PorterOctober's pop-up pub night at Reed Village Hall was held to raise money for the Save the Cabinet Action Group's fighting fund. Picture: Clive Porter

The Save the Cabinet Action Group, which formed in 2016 after the pub was purchased by Mr Newman, will be represented at the inquiry.

The group has long been campaigning for the pub to be restored – it has been closed since 2011 but villagers had always hoped it would reopen and were confident a buyer would come forward.

October's pop-up pub night at Reed Village Hall was held to raise money for the Save the Cabinet Action Group's fighting fund. Picture: Clive PorterOctober's pop-up pub night at Reed Village Hall was held to raise money for the Save the Cabinet Action Group's fighting fund. Picture: Clive Porter

Mike Howes, chair of the action group, said: “Our campaign has enjoyed fantastic support since it has started, and we are very grateful to all contributors.

“We’ve had to raise a lot of money to pay for lawyers and experts and we’ve been very successful with our recent events.”

The Cabinet at Reed. Picture: ArchantThe Cabinet at Reed. Picture: Archant

A pop-up pub night this month raised more than £860, while a golf day in September raised £3,600.

“We’re still a little short of our target, so we need more contributions to our fighting fund even at this stage.

“Now we’re in the final countdown to the appeal itself – the decisive moment in the case. If we get the right result, it’s a major step towards reclaiming The Cabinet for the community.

“If the developer wins, Reed will have lost its lovely old pub forever.

“We have a good case and we are confident that good sense will prevail. But we need supporters to turn out if they possibly can, to show the planning inspector the level of community support for saving the last pub in Reed.”

Mr Newman has previously been contacted by the Crow and has said that he was living in the property as his family home, and that he hadn’t had offers from the community to buy the pub.

For more information about the Save the Cabinet Action group and its campaign, go to www.savethecabinet.uk.

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