Villagers clash with developer over Reed pub future

Save The Cabinet action group members attended a meeting on Monday night to discuss The Cabinet pubs

Save The Cabinet action group members attended a meeting on Monday night to discuss The Cabinet pubs future. - Credit: Archant

People in Reed attended a specially-convened parish council meeting on Monday evening to resist proposals to turn the 400-year-old village pub into a house.

More than 60 people – made up of action group members, villagers, and pub owner – packed into a meeting room at Reed School to discuss the future of The Cabinet pub.

District Councillor Gerald Morris was also present.

Mike Howe led the action group. “Reed needs a pub,” he said.

“Without it, Reed has no centre – no heart – for the community.”

“Pubs are not just places for people to drink, they are places where neighbours and friends can drop in and see each other, places for new friendships to form, and places where village societies can meet.”

The Cabinet had been closed since 2011 but villagers had always hoped it would reopen and were confident a buyer would come forward.

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Mr Howe accused developer Richard Newman, of ‘riding roughshod’ over the planning laws by making alterations without first obtaining the requisite permission or consent.

However Mr Newman said that urgent repairs had been needed to preserve the listed building and that North Herts District Council had been aware of his actions.

The Crow spoke to Richard Newman following the meeting.

“I was surprised at the amount of people who said they wanted to buy the pub or knew someone who could, because still no one has come to me with an offer,” he said.

“They said I should be evicted because I’m apparently breaking a law by living in a pub and not opening it as a pub – I’m not breaking any law. There were people at the meeting who didn’t want The Cabinet to be turned back into a pub, but it really was for people with objections to come forward so I didn’t get to put my point across. I came to this village not wanting to make any enemies,” he said. “I still maintain that if anyone wants to come forward with the money I’ll be happy to discuss it.”

After hearing representatives’ views, the parish council decided to oppose the change of use and retrospective listed building consent for The Cabinet,and the final decision now rests with North Herts District Council.

The deadline for public consultation is Tuesday, October 6. Go to the website and click ‘planning’ for more information.