SAVE OUR VILLAGE PUB!

© Save the Cabinet Action Group 2020

Campaign news

Now is a good time to show your support - as Fighting Fund is relaunched

Somebody has been removing all The Save the Cabinet banners and posters around Reed Village. The banners were expensive and on private property, and their removal amounts to theft. The police have been informed. CCTV footage showing removal of one of the banners is available and we know that they were taken under cover of darkness. Now is a good time to reinforce our show of support. If you’d like to replace your poster you can download a copy ready for printing here. If you need a laminated copy please send us a private message – we have lots available. New planning applications on The Cabinet would mean change of use – and therefore the loss forever – of most of the former trading area of The Cabinet. Change of use was considered extensively by the Public Inquiry in 2018 and was refused. As on previous occasions, the applications are made retrospectively, demonstrating the complete contempt the owner has for planning law and for the interests of the local community. The Action Group will be objecting to the latest applications is the strongest terms. Make no mistake, the opening of an Indian restaurant in a small part of The Cabinet is no substitute for getting our pub back. There is no planning permission or listed building consent for the new arrangements, and it is not clear that a restaurant which is not part of a pub would be permitted even if the latest applications are granted. Unfortunately for him, the proprietor of the “Spice Cabinet” has apparently been induced to leave a successful restaurant in Bishops Stortford to come to Reed to run an unlawful operation. The owner of The Cabinet has been making no secret of the fact that he expects the business to fail, presumably so that he can try to use that failure as evidence that The Cabinet as a whole is unviable. It’s all part of his scheme to try to secure his ambition of turning the whole of The Cabinet into a house forever. Nobody is fooled by this ruse. We will be inviting supporters to submit written objections to the latest applications by the deadline of 24 July. It’s understandable that many people are angry about the latest proposals, but please remember that objections need to be based on sound planning and listed building considerations rather than emotive ones. We expect to be in a position to suggest some of these in the coming days. We are also relaunching the Save the Cabinet Fighting Fund. Help us fund the expert advice and representation we need to fight these applications in the most effective way we can. Please visit our newly relaunched JustGiving page or contact a member of the Action Group for details of how to donate directly.

Virtual village meeting to consider response to latest applications

We are inviting supporters to a virtual meeting to be held using Zoom on Thursday 16 July at 7.30pm. There will be a presentation of the latest proposals and an opportunity to consider next steps. We are asking everyone to register to attend the online meeting. It’s simple and free. Please click here to register.

New planning applications seek to cement subdivision of The Cabinet

Two new planning applications have been submitted to North Herts District Council. The first deals with planning permission for subdivision of the premises, and the second is a listed building consent application concerned with the internal alterations. The applications show a consultation deadline of 24 July. Supporters will recall that planning and listed building applications to subdivide The Cabinet were refused as recently as April 2019. Three other applications for listed buildings consent, two of them retrospective, were withdrawn in May. The Action Group is urgently studying the new applications in consultation with our expert. Advice to supporters will follow.

Part of The Cabinet to open as Indian restaurant, bar and takeaway

On 25 June a large sign announcing “Spice Cabinet” appeared on the wall of The Cabinet. The following day, menus for Indian food were being handed to passers-by. The owner of the pub has evidently used the cover of the lockdown to pursue his plan to subdivide The Cabinet, opening a small part of it as a “restaurant, bar and takeaway”, and continuing to live in the rest. Planning permission and listed building consent for this sort of arrangement were refused last year. Moreover, a planning enforcement notice requiring him to cease using the building as a residence will come into force on 8 August. It goes without saying that a small part of the pub becoming a takeaway restaurant does not remotely meet the aspirations of the Save the Cabinet Action Group to see The Cabinet re-opened as a successful village pub. We bear no ill-will towards the lessees of the takeaway. If an Indian restaurant had formed part of a wider scheme involving the reopening of the entire pub, we would have had little cause for complaint. As it is, we hear that the owner has been telling people he does not expect the venture to succeed – suggesting he sees it as little more than the next chapter of his scheme to manufacture evidence to show The Cabinet could not be viable as a pub, and to maintain the building permanently as a house. We are in direct communication with North Herts DC, our District Councillor and our MP in relation to what we understand to be a clear breach of planning control. NHDC assure us they are now dealing with the case as a matter of urgency. We will update supporters when we have more news.

Cabinet advertised on Gumtree as “stub pub”

The owner of The Cabinet has been advertising it to rent on Gumtree. The cat is out of the bag. To nobody’s surprise he is hoping to let out the rooms at the northern end of the property - on the right as you look at the front of the building - as a small pub, and very evidently to continue to live in the remainder of it. The main advert has now been taken down, but fortunately we have some screenshots which show quite clearly what is intended. Click on the images for a closer view. His application for planning permission and listed building consent to subdivide the pub in this way was refused by North Herts District Council at delegated level in April last year. It follows that using the building in the manner proposed would be unlawful. Since then an enforcement notice requiring him to cease using the building as a residence was imposed. The appeal against this notice was dismissed in February, and consequently he is obliged to comply by 7 August. Breach of an enforcement notice is a criminal matter carrying an unlimited fine and the potential for a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The Action Group is in no doubt that opening three rooms as what is known as a “stub pub” (an expression given to situations where a small part of an old pub remains in pub use while the rest is subject to change of use), and continuing to use the remainder as a residence would be in breach of the notice - quite apart from flying in the face of of the planning refusal last year. The Action Group has brought these matters to the attention of NHDC and expects them to take appropriate action.

Work under way at The Cabinet as applications for listed building consent withdrawn

These are strange times. Those of us who enjoy the occasional (or even less occasional) trip to the pub have been having to get used to life without the possibility of visiting a favoured hostelry. But it won’t be forever. The time will come, sooner or later, when pubs and bars are allowed to reopen. We can only hope that as many pubs – and not forgetting breweries – as possible have been sufficiently financially robust to survive an extended period of closure. With thoughts of the future in mind, attention turns back to The Cabinet. Anyone passing recently cannot have avoided noticing that work to the interior has been going on at the northern end – the site of the former restaurant – and the indications are that a new bar has been installed. Word on the street (and rumours often circulate when there’s no clear information) is that the present owner plans to reopen at least part of the building as a pub. We know that the enforcement notice means he cannot use it as a dwelling after the beginning of August, so it would not come as a complete surprise. He would not need planning permission to turn the building back into a pub. Of course, it’s possible that the owner has finally seen the light and understood that the only future for The Cabinet is as a lovely village pub. In principle that would, of course, be welcome, and what the Action Group has been fighting for. But we have learned enough over the course of the campaign to be wary. We can only recall the present owner’s proposals last year to split the building into two – quickly seen off by the planning officers – and his subsequent listed building consent application (now withdrawn – more about this below) which suggested that only the room in the restaurant area would be used as a pub. We need to be satisfied that the whole of the ground floor will in reality become a pub. If only the northern end opens as a pub and the reality is that the rest of the ground floor remains a residence, that would be in breach of planning law and a matter for enforcement – and we frankly doubt that The Cabinet would be viable in such a configuration. The current limit of 50 people under the existing premises licence reinforces this concern. We have also seen other examples locally where unscrupulous owners have deliberately run a pub down in order to try to show it wasn’t viable and could therefore be turned into a house. We know that the local planning authority is wise to this ruse and won’t allow that to happen. Meanwhile, we were surprised by developments during April in relation to planning and listed building consent. The three outstanding applications for retrospective listed building consent have all been withdrawn. We expect them to be replaced by a new application designed to encompass all the unauthorised developments and in order to regularise the listed building position. We will study any new application carefully once it becomes available, in consultation with our expert adviser.

Enforcement appeal dismissed

The appeal against the enforcement notice has been dismissed. The owner of The Cabinet now has 6 months from the date of the decision (8 February - i.e. by 7 August, by our reckoning) to stop using the premises as a residence. In a decision notice extending to just 3 pages, the Planning Inspector concluded that the arguments that the enforcement notice had not been properly served and that insufficient time had been allowed for compliance should fail. The appeal did, however, have the effect of suspending the operation of the enforcement notice. Consequently the appellant has a further 6 months to comply. This effectively brings to an end the chapter of this saga relating to change of use. Regular readers will recall that the original application was made as long ago as late 2016. It was refused in July 2017, then the appeal was dismissed in December 2018. The enforcement notice was issued in July 2019, and it has taken until February 2020 to conclude the appeal. Various applications for retrospective listed building consent remain undetermined - but even if granted these would not affect the overall status of the building: it is a pub not a house. It may have taken a long time to reach this stage, but the owner of The Cabinet must now realise that he will not be able to live in it. He should transfer it either to one of the willing purchasers who we know remain interested, or to somebody prepared to lease the premises and reopen it as a village pub. __________________________________________________

Action group submits written observations on enforcement appeal

The Save the Cabinet Action Group has submitted written observations on the appeal against the enforcement notice. The notice, issued in July, requires the owner of The Cabinet to cease using it as a residential dwelling following refusal of planning permission for change of use, and dismissal of the appeal. The notice, issued 8 months after the appeal decision, allowed him 6 months to comply. Key documents in relation to the appeal can be viewed here. The local planning authority, North Hertfordshire District Council, have also submitted observations resisting the appeal. These sorts of appeals can only be brought on limited grounds which are set out in statute. The owner of The Cabinet has chosen to appeal on two of the possible grounds: that the enforcement notice was not properly served , and that insufficient time was allowed for the notice to be complied with. The Action Group considers both grounds to be misconceived and without merit. We took the view that it was not necessary on this occasion to issue the kind of call to action that we have on previous occasions and that a response on behalf of the Action Group aiming to correct what we consider to be misleading statements in the statement of appeal would suffice. The probability is that HM Planning Inspectorate will deal with this appeal on the papers, and the Action Group would be content with that; but in principle it is open to them to call for a hearing or a public inquiry. *** STOP PRESS *** We hear that HM Planning Inspectorate will make a site visit during the week of 13 January. __________________________________________________

Campaign marks three years with defiant message: we’re not going away!

September 2019 marked exactly three years since the campaign to save The Cabinet was launched in response to the attempt to gain retrospective planning permission for turning the pub into a house. Since then we have enjoyed wonderful support from the local community and beyond, and The Cabinet is still, in planning law, a pub - even if it isn’t yet open. We are in no doubt that had it not been for the campaign, the community support, and the fundraising that enabled us to obtain excellent specialist professional advice and advocacy, planning permission would have been granted and Reed would have lost its last pub forever. In the face of new applications and appeals, the fight to save our lovely old pub goes on and will continue for as long as it takes. And the clear message is: we’re still here, and we’re not going away! __________________________________________________

Developer appeals against enforcement notice whilst giving notice of intention to sell

HM Planning Inspectorate, which deals with planning appeals, has informed NHDC that an appeal has been submitted against the enforcement notice issued in July. The grounds on which the appeal is based have not yet been disclosed while the appeal undergoes “validation”. More news will follow when we have it. Like planning appeals, these sorts of appeals can be dealt with in writing, by way of a hearing, or at a public inquiry. Interested parties have the opportunity to make representations. Meanwhile, the owner of The Cabinet has given formal notice to NHDC of his intention to sell. Such a notice is required when a building is listed as an asset of community value (ACV). Without the notice, and sale would be invalid in law. In fact The Cabinet was first advertised for sale in January and no such notice was then given. At the time, the Save the Cabinet Action Group commented that the asking price of £595,000 was unrealistic, and that the owner needed to lower his expectations given the evidence of the true market value given at last November’s public inquiry. The purpose of the notification rule is to allow community interest groups, which include Parish Councils, the opportunity to construct a bid on behalf of the community, and in some circumstances a 6-month moratorium can be triggered to facilitate this. In our case, however, Reed Parish Council made a bid on behalf of the community as long ago as March, without waiting for the formal notification. We are aware, too, of other generous offers and of expressions of interest in renting the property, but our understanding is that so far all of these have been rebuffed. __________________________________________________

Enforcement notice issued against owner of The Cabinet

An enforcement notice requiring the owner of The Cabinet to cease the unauthorised use of the pub as a residence was issued on 18 July. It follows refusal of planning permission for change of use, and dismissal of the appeal last December. The owner has a right of appeal and, under the terms of the notice, 6 months to comply. The enforcement notice is in the public domain and can be viewed here. Supporters may think that this development is not before time. The present owner is an experienced property developer who knowingly took the risk of carrying out unauthorised works on The Cabinet without obtaining the requisite permissions. He has other properties where he could live. And offers to purchase the freehold at a fair market price to restore it as a pub have been made - including one by Reed Parish Council. Since it’s clear he will not be able to live at The Cabinet he should realise that his best interests will be served by looking seriously at these offers and cutting his losses. __________________________________________________

Licence would impose limits on number of customers because of inadequate WCs

The owner of The Cabinet has been granted a premises licence - essential for a working pub. But the licensing authority, North Herts District Council, has imposed a condition that “In light of the proposed sanitary facilities, the premises licence holder will ensure that no more than fifty (50) persons, excluding staff, are permitted on the premises whilst open to the public.” For comparison, the pub used to offer 52 covers (i.e. seated places) in the restaurant alone, plus another 16 in the snug - and that did not include people (standing or sitting) in the bar, or seated outside in the garden or in the “marquee area”. Cabinet regulars will remember how busy it was on special occasions such as New Year’s Day and various other celebrations, as well as weddings and events - quite apart from warm summer evenings. The plans submitted as part of the current listed building application propose only 2 WC cubicles in the main bar, plus a third “accessible” WC (though how accessible it will be must be open to question) at the opposite end of the building. The recommended number of WCs in a pub or bar is 2 for up to 150 males or 2 for up to 40 males if urinals are not provided (as they would not be in this case), 2 for up to 25 females plus an additional 1 per 25 females thereafter. On that basis, arguably there would not be enough even for the 50 people contemplated. These developments must dispel any doubt there might have been about the owner’s intention only to open part of The Cabinet as a pub and to use the rest as a house - exactly the arrangement that was refused on planning and listed building grounds by North Herts District Council in April. The deadline for public comments on the latest application is 30 June. If you have not already done so, please register your objection. Details as to how to do so are below. __________________________________________________

Supporters asked to object to latest listed building consent application

The Save the Cabinet Action Group is asking supporters to write in to North Herts District Council to object to the latest proposals submitted by the owner of The Cabinet by the deadline of 30 June. (We have been assured that the online facility will be kept open until that date.) The application for listed building consent is framed as “to facilitate the reinstatement of The Cabinet as a public house” - and while naturally we would be delighted if there were to be a genuine proposal to reopen The Cabinet, a closer look reveals matters causing serious concern. That is why we are asking supporters to object. We need as many objections as possible in order to help demonstrate the continued support for saving our lovely old pub. The easiest way to do so is online. You can find the application on the North Herts Planning page here. You need to log in (or register, if you haven’t already - it’s easy to do so), and click on “Comments”. Alternatively you can write to Planning Control and Conservation, North Hertfordshire District Council, PO Box 10613, Nottingham NG6 6DW. Be sure to quote reference 19/01222/LBC. Objections need to relate to planning - or in this case, specifically listed building - considerations, some of which may be quite technical. Reasons identified by SCAG and our expert are set out below. You are free to mention these or any other reasons - but please express them in your own words. The plan looks like another attempt to create a mixed pub and residence along similar lines to the proposal refused on planning and listed building grounds as recently as April. It contains precious little of the sort of detail one would expect to see in a listed building application and it’s therefore impossible to tell whether it would cause harm to a listed building or not. It would “roll up” the two outstanding retrospective listed building applications - both of which were inadequate in that they lacked detail and did not provide a complete list of the unauthorised works (that is, alterations that required listed building consent) that had been carried out. Some of the alterations noted by witnesses have been identified by our expert as having the potential to cause great harm to the fabric of the building - risking “catastrophic structural failure” at some stage in the future. These matters have never been investigated properly, and the least that should happen is a full survey by a suitably-qualified expert in historic buildings. The proposal includes the installation of modern extraction equipment in the kitchen and WCs - but no information as to how these would look; they are not likely to be in keeping with a 400-year-old historic building. No explanation has been provided as to why the original configuration before the owner’s unauthorised works were carried out could not be reinstated. If you need further advice please contact us. __________________________________________________

Another new planning application as owner applies for premises licence

The owner of The Cabinet, an experienced property developer, has submitted a new application for listed building consent - this time described as concerning “internal and external alterations to facilitate the reinstatement of The Cabinet as a public house”. We encourage you to read it. The Action Group will study this new application carefully and take a position in due course. The deadline for public comments is 23 June. The latest application follows the owner’s application for a premises licence - something any operating pub must have. We were given to understand that this application was made in the context of a recent enquiry by a partnership who were interested in taking on the lease of The Cabinet and reopening it as a pub. The Action Group was aware that negotiations were taking place but were unable to say anything about this publicly in order to respect the confidentiality of those concerned. Unfortunately, those negotiations have broken down. Aside from the new application, two listed building applications remain outstanding from 2016 and 2017. It is essential that the unauthorised works carried out by the owner before submitting these retrospective applications be examined carefully before a decision is taken as to whether grant consent. Evidence was submitted as part of our original objection which, if borne out, shows that these works could be massively damaging to the fabric of the building and thus its longer-term integrity. We would fail in the objective to save The Cabinet if it reopened as a pub only to succumb in a few years to structural failure caused by damaging alterations. __________________________________________________

Planning permission for Cabinet split refused and ACV listing renewed

In a double boost to the campaign to save The Cabinet, North Hertfordshire District Council has refused planning permission for sub-division of The Cabinet with creation of a “stub-pub”, as well as refusing the associated listed building consent. 48 written submissions from members of the public had been submitted objecting to planning permission, with a further 20 against listed building consent. Thank you to all the supporters who objected. Separately, following an application by Reed Parish Council, North Herts have also re-listed The Cabinet as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) following expiry of its existing listing. It will remain on the list until 28 March 2024. This means The Cabinet will continue to benefit from protection under the Localism Act 2011: there are limits to permitted development, there is provision for a community right to bid and there is the possibility of compulsory purchase by the local authority if there is a danger of long-term loss to the community. Just as importantly, the fact that a building is sufficiently loved to be an Asset of Community Value is a material consideration in any planning application. Both of these developments are welcome, but neither on their own will deliver an open pub back to Reed. We know there has been interest on the part of well-intentioned parties in acquiring the premises with a view to re- opening it as a pub - including a bid on behalf of the community by Reed Parish Council. With goodwill and common sense on all sides there is no reason why one of these expressions of interest should not bear fruit. __________________________________________________

Supporters urged to submit written objections on Cabinet split plan

With the deadline of 21 March rapidly approaching, the Save the Cabinet Action Group is reminding supporters of the need to submit written objections on the plan to split The Cabinet in two. The easiest way to do so is online via the North Herts website. The application to subdivide the pub is here. The associated listed building application is here. The Action Group takes the view that a tiny “pub” is unlikely to succeed and that the offer to Reed Parish Council to take over three rooms while the rump of The Cabinet is used as a residence is merely an attempt to circumvent the recent decision of the Planning Inspectorate to refuse planning permission for change of use. A written objection should be in your own words but points which the Action Group considers particularly important are: the viability of The Cabinet as a whole was considered in great detail at the Public Inquiry which concluded that it could be viable; however a small bar without a kitchen, so that it could offer no food, is unlikely to be viable, and the lack of accommodation for a tenant or manager would pose still further problems the proposal is designed to fail and leave the way open for permanent change of use of the entire premises. The issues concerning change of use were fully explored during the Public Inquiry which dismissed the planning appeal, and nothing material has changed. the three-room “pub” proposed would be separated from the residence by a thin party wall and a fence, causing noise and other issues meaning the developments is unlikely to be sustainable longer-term the continuing demand for a pub in Reed is demonstrated by the level of community support for saving The Cabinet as a pub – including well-attended pop-up pub nights, the large attendance of villagers and others at the appeal, and the generosity of the community in raising funds to finance the resistance to the appeal If you need help with your objection, don’t hesitate to contact us. __________________________________________________

Large turnout as Reed Parish Council votes to object to Cabinet split

Some 60 or so parishioners attended Reed Village Hall on 6 March for the meeting of Reed Parish Council which considered the latest planning applications in respect of The Cabinet. After a discussion, the Parish Council voted unanimously to object to the proposal to split The Cabinet in two, along with the associated listed building application. The Chair was instructed to write to the present owner declining his offer to use three rooms of the pub as a bar at a peppercorn rent. The Parish Council also decided unanimously to make a bid for the freehold of the pub along the lines described in their business plan. __________________________________________________

Parish Council meeting to be held as deadline for written comments approaches

The Save the Cabinet Action Group invites supporters to attend the meeting of Reed Parish Council on Wednesday 6 March at which the latest Cabinet planning application will be discussed. The meeting, at Reed Village Hall, will start at 7pm, but the item on The Cabinet will be discussed around 8pm. The leaflet circulated by Reed Parish Council is here. Under the latest scheme, three rooms – the former lounge bar and restaurant – would become a small “pub”, which the owner would offer to Reed Parish Council to operate at a peppercorn rent. The main part of the building would be a residence. The application would also allow for a new car park to serve the new “pub”, leaving the existing one redundant. The Save the Cabinet Action Group considers the latest scheme to be a “trojan horse” - it looks like a gift, but in fact it is anything but. A small bar with no facilities to offer food would be a pale shadow of the lovely destination pub that attracted visitors from miles around. There would be nowhere for a tenant or manager to live, and it’s highly unlikely it would be practicable to run such a bar with volunteers alone. The overwhelming likelihood is that it would fail and, despite our success at the planning appeal, Reed would lose its last pub forever. Please come to the meeting. It will be important to demonstrate the strength of feeling in relation to this latest application. We encourage supporters to object. The easiest way to do so is online via the North Herts website. The application to subdivide the pub is here. The associated listed building application is here. The deadline is 21 March - (note that it was originally 12 March) so there would be plenty of time to listen to the the discussions at the Parish Council meeting before sending in any comments. The Parish Council will also consider whether to make a bid to buy the pub. Last year, it obtained borrowing authority from the government to borrow up to £400,000 for that purpose at a very low rate of interest - although the Parish Council’s business plan suggests that any offer would be a great deal less than that, having in mind the likely cost of restoration of the premises. Read more about this in our news archive and on Reed Parish Council’s website. __________________________________________________

New planning applications would split Cabinet in two

Just two months after the planning appeal against refusal of permission for change of use was dismissed, the Reed community had good reason to think that the planning status of The Cabinet had been settled. Instead, two new planning applications have been submitted. The first would subdivide The Cabinet, making the old lounge bar and restaurant area into a small pub, while the remainder – the larger part – of the building would be a residence. It would also create a small car park at the northern end of the building. The second would cover all the listed building matters associated with such subdivision, including regularising the unauthorised works previously carried out. The current owner has apparently offered the new “pub” to Reed Parish Council at a peppercorn rent. But nobody should be fooled into thinking into thinking that this is an unexpected act of altruism or community goodwill on his part. This is a project that is being set up to fail, and then give the owner – an experienced property developer – carte blanche to realise his original aims in respect of the site. A tiny pub without any food offering, with nowhere on site for a tenant or manager to live, is unlikely to survive. It is doubtful that it would be practicable for it to be managed by volunteers. The development of a new car park at the northern end of The Cabinet would make the existing car park redundant – and doubtless an application for permission to build on it would soon follow. Far from amounting to a compromise, these latest applications amount to what is widely known as a “trojan horse”. It’s not hard to see the ruse it is. If it’s granted, The Cabinet as we have known it would be lost forever. The Save the Cabinet Action Group will be objecting to the proposal. We will be inviting neighbours and supporters to do so too. The deadline for doing so is 12 March. Reed Parish Council is due to meet to consider these applications on Wednesday 6 March. Read more about this special meeting here. We encourage neighbours and supporters to attend. __________________________________________________

Cabinet for sale or to rent

The Cabinet has been offered for sale or to rent. It’s listed at Fleurets, a well-known leisure property specialist, at the slightly eye-watering asking price of £595,000, or for rent at £40,000 p.a. The sales particulars make clear to any interested person that the premises have to be turned back into a pub. On the face of it, it’s good news that the developer who owns The Cabinet accepts that it needs to be restored as a pub. But if he’s sincere about wanting to sell or rent the property, anyone who attended the recent Public Inquiry could be forgiven for thinking the owner will need to lower his expectations about its value as a pub, especially when the buyer or the tenant will be faced with the considerable expense of restoring the pub fittings etc. __________________________________________________

Planning appeal dismissed! “A huge step on the way to restoring our pub”

The Planning Inspector’s decision following November’s Public Inquiry has been published, and the appeal has been dismissed. This is, of course, the decision the Campaign and its supporters had been hoping for and it’s undoubtedly a huge step on the way to restoring our lovely old pub to its proper place at the heart of the community. It will undoubtedly put a spring in everyone’s step - especially at the forthcoming New Year’s Eve Pop-up Pub Night. Commenting on the decision, Mike Howes, Chair of the Save the Cabinet Action group, said: “We are naturally delighted and relieved at the decision to dismiss the appeal. It’s a massive step on the road to restoring The Cabinet to its proper place as a public house at the heart of this community. “At the New Year’s Eve event we’ll certainly raise a glass or two to our supporters and to our professional advisers, without whom we would never have reached this position. Let’s be clear – this is just one battle – albeit an important one – in the campaign to reclaim our pub and it’s too soon to declare victory. We will do that when the pub has been restored and we’re inside enjoying a pint. But that prospect just came a lot closer.” Read the Planning Inspector’s Decision here. Home Sponsors

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Campaign

news

Now is a good time to show your support - as

Fighting Fund is relaunched

Somebody has been removing all The Save the Cabinet banners and posters around Reed Village. The banners were expensive and on private property, and their removal amounts to theft. The police have been informed. CCTV footage showing removal of one of the banners is available and we know that they were taken under cover of darkness. Now is a good time to reinforce our show of support. If you’d like to replace your poster you can download a copy ready for printing here. If you need a laminated copy please send us a private message – we have lots available. New planning applications on The Cabinet would mean change of use – and therefore the loss forever – of most of the former trading area of The Cabinet. Change of use was considered extensively by the Public Inquiry in 2018 and was refused. As on previous occasions, the applications are made retrospectively, demonstrating the complete contempt the owner has for planning law and for the interests of the local community. The Action Group will be objecting to the latest applications is the strongest terms. Make no mistake, the opening of an Indian restaurant in a small part of The Cabinet is no substitute for getting our pub back. There is no planning permission or listed building consent for the new arrangements, and it is not clear that a restaurant which is not part of a pub would be permitted even if the latest applications are granted. Unfortunately for him, the proprietor of the “Spice Cabinet” has apparently been induced to leave a successful restaurant in Bishops Stortford to come to Reed to run an unlawful operation. The owner of The Cabinet has been making no secret of the fact that he expects the business to fail, presumably so that he can try to use that failure as evidence that The Cabinet as a whole is unviable. It’s all part of his scheme to try to secure his ambition of turning the whole of The Cabinet into a house forever. Nobody is fooled by this ruse. We will be inviting supporters to submit written objections to the latest applications by the deadline of 24 July. It’s understandable that many people are angry about the latest proposals, but please remember that objections need to be based on sound planning and listed building considerations rather than emotive ones. We expect to be in a position to suggest some of these in the coming days. We are also relaunching the Save the Cabinet Fighting Fund. Help us fund the expert advice and representation we need to fight these applications in the most effective way we can. Please visit our newly relaunched JustGiving page or contact a member of the Action Group for details of how to donate directly.

Virtual village meeting to consider response

to latest applications

We are inviting supporters to a virtual meeting to be held using Zoom on Thursday 16 July at 7.30pm. There will be a presentation of the latest proposals and an opportunity to consider next steps. We are asking everyone to register to attend the online meeting. It’s simple and free. Please click here to register.

New planning applications seek to cement

subdivision of The Cabinet

Two new planning applications have been submitted to North Herts District Council. The first deals with planning permission for subdivision of the premises, and the second is a listed building consent application concerned with the internal alterations. The applications show a consultation deadline of 24 July. Supporters will recall that planning and listed building applications to subdivide The Cabinet were refused as recently as April 2019. Three other applications for listed buildings consent, two of them retrospective, were withdrawn in May. The Action Group is urgently studying the new applications in consultation with our expert. Advice to supporters will follow.

Part of The Cabinet to open as Indian

restaurant, bar and takeaway

On 25 June a large sign announcing “Spice Cabinet” appeared on the wall of The Cabinet. The following day, menus for Indian food were being handed to passers-by. The owner of the pub has evidently used the cover of the lockdown to pursue his plan to subdivide The Cabinet, opening a small part of it as a “restaurant, bar and takeaway”, and continuing to live in the rest. Planning permission and listed building consent for this sort of arrangement were refused last year. Moreover, a planning enforcement notice requiring him to cease using the building as a residence will come into force on 8 August. It goes without saying that a small part of the pub becoming a takeaway restaurant does not remotely meet the aspirations of the Save the Cabinet Action Group to see The Cabinet re-opened as a successful village pub. We bear no ill-will towards the lessees of the takeaway. If an Indian restaurant had formed part of a wider scheme involving the reopening of the entire pub, we would have had little cause for complaint. As it is, we hear that the owner has been telling people he does not expect the venture to succeed – suggesting he sees it as little more than the next chapter of his scheme to manufacture evidence to show The Cabinet could not be viable as a pub, and to maintain the building permanently as a house. We are in direct communication with North Herts DC, our District Councillor and our MP in relation to what we understand to be a clear breach of planning control. NHDC assure us they are now dealing with the case as a matter of urgency. We will update supporters when we have more news.

Cabinet advertised on Gumtree as “stub pub”

The owner of The Cabinet has been advertising it to rent on Gumtree. The cat is out of the bag. To nobody’s surprise he is hoping to let out the rooms at the northern end of the property - on the right as you look at the front of the building - as a small pub, and very evidently to continue to live in the remainder of it. The main advert has now been taken down, but fortunately we have some screenshots which show quite clearly what is intended. Click on the images for a closer view. His application for planning permission and listed building consent to subdivide the pub in this way was refused by North Herts District Council at delegated level in April last year. It follows that using the building in the manner proposed would be unlawful. Since then an enforcement notice requiring him to cease using the building as a residence was imposed. The appeal against this notice was dismissed in February, and consequently he is obliged to comply by 7 August. Breach of an enforcement notice is a criminal matter carrying an unlimited fine and the potential for a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The Action Group is in no doubt that opening three rooms as what is known as a “stub pub” (an expression given to situations where a small part of an old pub remains in pub use while the rest is subject to change of use), and continuing to use the remainder as a residence would be in breach of the notice - quite apart from flying in the face of of the planning refusal last year. The Action Group has brought these matters to the attention of NHDC and expects them to take appropriate action.

Work under way at The Cabinet as

applications for listed building consent

withdrawn

These are strange times. Those of us who enjoy the occasional (or even less occasional) trip to the pub have been having to get used to life without the possibility of visiting a favoured hostelry. But it won’t be forever. The time will come, sooner or later, when pubs and bars are allowed to reopen. We can only hope that as many pubs – and not forgetting breweries – as possible have been sufficiently financially robust to survive an extended period of closure. With thoughts of the future in mind, attention turns back to The Cabinet. Anyone passing recently cannot have avoided noticing that work to the interior has been going on at the northern end – the site of the former restaurant – and the indications are that a new bar has been installed. Word on the street (and rumours often circulate when there’s no clear information) is that the present owner plans to reopen at least part of the building as a pub. We know that the enforcement notice means he cannot use it as a dwelling after the beginning of August, so it would not come as a complete surprise. He would not need planning permission to turn the building back into a pub. Of course, it’s possible that the owner has finally seen the light and understood that the only future for The Cabinet is as a lovely village pub. In principle that would, of course, be welcome, and what the Action Group has been fighting for. But we have learned enough over the course of the campaign to be wary. We can only recall the present owner’s proposals last year to split the building into two – quickly seen off by the planning officers – and his subsequent listed building consent application (now withdrawn – more about this below) which suggested that only the room in the restaurant area would be used as a pub. We need to be satisfied that the whole of the ground floor will in reality become a pub. If only the northern end opens as a pub and the reality is that the rest of the ground floor remains a residence, that would be in breach of planning law and a matter for enforcement – and we frankly doubt that The Cabinet would be viable in such a configuration. The current limit of 50 people under the existing premises licence reinforces this concern. We have also seen other examples locally where unscrupulous owners have deliberately run a pub down in order to try to show it wasn’t viable and could therefore be turned into a house. We know that the local planning authority is wise to this ruse and won’t allow that to happen. Meanwhile, we were surprised by developments during April in relation to planning and listed building consent. The three outstanding applications for retrospective listed building consent have all been withdrawn. We expect them to be replaced by a new application designed to encompass all the unauthorised developments and in order to regularise the listed building position. We will study any new application carefully once it becomes available, in consultation with our expert adviser.

Enforcement appeal dismissed

The appeal against the enforcement notice has been dismissed. The owner of The Cabinet now has 6 months from the date of the decision (8 February - i.e. by 7 August, by our reckoning) to stop using the premises as a residence. In a decision notice extending to just 3 pages, the Planning Inspector concluded that the arguments that the enforcement notice had not been properly served and that insufficient time had been allowed for compliance should fail. The appeal did, however, have the effect of suspending the operation of the enforcement notice. Consequently the appellant has a further 6 months to comply. This effectively brings to an end the chapter of this saga relating to change of use. Regular readers will recall that the original application was made as long ago as late 2016. It was refused in July 2017, then the appeal was dismissed in December 2018. The enforcement notice was issued in July 2019, and it has taken until February 2020 to conclude the appeal. Various applications for retrospective listed building consent remain undetermined - but even if granted these would not affect the overall status of the building: it is a pub not a house. It may have taken a long time to reach this stage, but the owner of The Cabinet must now realise that he will not be able to live in it. He should transfer it either to one of the willing purchasers who we know remain interested, or to somebody prepared to lease the premises and reopen it as a village pub. __________________________________________________

Action group submits written observations on

enforcement appeal

The Save the Cabinet Action Group has submitted written observations on the appeal against the enforcement notice. The notice, issued in July, requires the owner of The Cabinet to cease using it as a residential dwelling following refusal of planning permission for change of use, and dismissal of the appeal. The notice, issued 8 months after the appeal decision, allowed him 6 months to comply. Key documents in relation to the appeal can be viewed here. The local planning authority, North Hertfordshire District Council, have also submitted observations resisting the appeal. These sorts of appeals can only be brought on limited grounds which are set out in statute. The owner of The Cabinet has chosen to appeal on two of the possible grounds: that the enforcement notice was not properly served , and that insufficient time was allowed for the notice to be complied with. The Action Group considers both grounds to be misconceived and without merit. We took the view that it was not necessary on this occasion to issue the kind of call to action that we have on previous occasions and that a response on behalf of the Action Group aiming to correct what we consider to be misleading statements in the statement of appeal would suffice. The probability is that HM Planning Inspectorate will deal with this appeal on the papers, and the Action Group would be content with that; but in principle it is open to them to call for a hearing or a public inquiry. *** STOP PRESS *** We hear that HM Planning Inspectorate will make a site visit during the week of 13 January. __________________________________________________

Campaign marks three years with defiant

message: we’re not going away!

September 2019 marked exactly three years since the campaign to save The Cabinet was launched in response to the attempt to gain retrospective planning permission for turning the pub into a house. Since then we have enjoyed wonderful support from the local community and beyond, and The Cabinet is still, in planning law, a pub - even if it isn’t yet open. We are in no doubt that had it not been for the campaign, the community support, and the fundraising that enabled us to obtain excellent specialist professional advice and advocacy, planning permission would have been granted and Reed would have lost its last pub forever. In the face of new applications and appeals, the fight to save our lovely old pub goes on and will continue for as long as it takes. And the clear message is: we’re still here, and we’re not going away! __________________________________________________

Developer appeals against enforcement

notice whilst giving notice of intention to sell

HM Planning Inspectorate, which deals with planning appeals, has informed NHDC that an appeal has been submitted against the enforcement notice issued in July. The grounds on which the appeal is based have not yet been disclosed while the appeal undergoes “validation”. More news will follow when we have it. Like planning appeals, these sorts of appeals can be dealt with in writing, by way of a hearing, or at a public inquiry. Interested parties have the opportunity to make representations. Meanwhile, the owner of The Cabinet has given formal notice to NHDC of his intention to sell. Such a notice is required when a building is listed as an asset of community value (ACV). Without the notice, and sale would be invalid in law. In fact The Cabinet was first advertised for sale in January and no such notice was then given. At the time, the Save the Cabinet Action Group commented that the asking price of £595,000 was unrealistic, and that the owner needed to lower his expectations given the evidence of the true market value given at last November’s public inquiry. The purpose of the notification rule is to allow community interest groups, which include Parish Councils, the opportunity to construct a bid on behalf of the community, and in some circumstances a 6-month moratorium can be triggered to facilitate this. In our case, however, Reed Parish Council made a bid on behalf of the community as long ago as March, without waiting for the formal notification. We are aware, too, of other generous offers and of expressions of interest in renting the property, but our understanding is that so far all of these have been rebuffed. __________________________________________________

Enforcement notice issued against owner of

The Cabinet

An enforcement notice requiring the owner of The Cabinet to cease the unauthorised use of the pub as a residence was issued on 18 July. It follows refusal of planning permission for change of use, and dismissal of the appeal last December. The owner has a right of appeal and, under the terms of the notice, 6 months to comply. The enforcement notice is in the public domain and can be viewed here. Supporters may think that this development is not before time. The present owner is an experienced property developer who knowingly took the risk of carrying out unauthorised works on The Cabinet without obtaining the requisite permissions. He has other properties where he could live. And offers to purchase the freehold at a fair market price to restore it as a pub have been made - including one by Reed Parish Council. Since it’s clear he will not be able to live at The Cabinet he should realise that his best interests will be served by looking seriously at these offers and cutting his losses. __________________________________________________

Licence would impose limits on number of

customers because of inadequate WCs

The owner of The Cabinet has been granted a premises licence - essential for a working pub. But the licensing authority, North Herts District Council, has imposed a condition that “In light of the proposed sanitary facilities, the premises licence holder will ensure that no more than fifty (50) persons, excluding staff, are permitted on the premises whilst open to the public.” For comparison, the pub used to offer 52 covers (i.e. seated places) in the restaurant alone, plus another 16 in the snug - and that did not include people (standing or sitting) in the bar, or seated outside in the garden or in the “marquee area”. Cabinet regulars will remember how busy it was on special occasions such as New Year’s Day and various other celebrations, as well as weddings and events - quite apart from warm summer evenings. The plans submitted as part of the current listed building application propose only 2 WC cubicles in the main bar, plus a third “accessible” WC (though how accessible it will be must be open to question) at the opposite end of the building. The recommended number of WCs in a pub or bar is 2 for up to 150 males or 2 for up to 40 males if urinals are not provided (as they would not be in this case), 2 for up to 25 females plus an additional 1 per 25 females thereafter. On that basis, arguably there would not be enough even for the 50 people contemplated. These developments must dispel any doubt there might have been about the owner’s intention only to open part of The Cabinet as a pub and to use the rest as a house - exactly the arrangement that was refused on planning and listed building grounds by North Herts District Council in April. The deadline for public comments on the latest application is 30 June. If you have not already done so, please register your objection. Details as to how to do so are below. __________________________________________________

Supporters asked to object to latest listed

building consent application

The Save the Cabinet Action Group is asking supporters to write in to North Herts District Council to object to the latest proposals submitted by the owner of The Cabinet by the deadline of 30 June. (We have been assured that the online facility will be kept open until that date.) The application for listed building consent is framed as “to facilitate the reinstatement of The Cabinet as a public house” - and while naturally we would be delighted if there were to be a genuine proposal to reopen The Cabinet, a closer look reveals matters causing serious concern. That is why we are asking supporters to object. We need as many objections as possible in order to help demonstrate the continued support for saving our lovely old pub. The easiest way to do so is online. You can find the application on the North Herts Planning page here. You need to log in (or register, if you haven’t already - it’s easy to do so), and click on “Comments”. Alternatively you can write to Planning Control and Conservation, North Hertfordshire District Council, PO Box 10613, Nottingham NG6 6DW. Be sure to quote reference 19/01222/LBC. Objections need to relate to planning - or in this case, specifically listed building - considerations, some of which may be quite technical. Reasons identified by SCAG and our expert are set out below. You are free to mention these or any other reasons - but please express them in your own words. The plan looks like another attempt to create a mixed pub and residence along similar lines to the proposal refused on planning and listed building grounds as recently as April. It contains precious little of the sort of detail one would expect to see in a listed building application and it’s therefore impossible to tell whether it would cause harm to a listed building or not. It would “roll up” the two outstanding retrospective listed building applications - both of which were inadequate in that they lacked detail and did not provide a complete list of the unauthorised works (that is, alterations that required listed building consent) that had been carried out. Some of the alterations noted by witnesses have been identified by our expert as having the potential to cause great harm to the fabric of the building - risking “catastrophic structural failure” at some stage in the future. These matters have never been investigated properly, and the least that should happen is a full survey by a suitably-qualified expert in historic buildings. The proposal includes the installation of modern extraction equipment in the kitchen and WCs - but no information as to how these would look; they are not likely to be in keeping with a 400- year-old historic building. No explanation has been provided as to why the original configuration before the owner’s unauthorised works were carried out could not be reinstated. If you need further advice please contact us. __________________________________________________

Another new planning application as owner

applies for premises licence

The owner of The Cabinet, an experienced property developer, has submitted a new application for listed building consent - this time described as concerning “internal and external alterations to facilitate the reinstatement of The Cabinet as a public house”. We encourage you to read it. The Action Group will study this new application carefully and take a position in due course. The deadline for public comments is 23 June. The latest application follows the owner’s application for a premises licence - something any operating pub must have. We were given to understand that this application was made in the context of a recent enquiry by a partnership who were interested in taking on the lease of The Cabinet and reopening it as a pub. The Action Group was aware that negotiations were taking place but were unable to say anything about this publicly in order to respect the confidentiality of those concerned. Unfortunately, those negotiations have broken down. Aside from the new application, two listed building applications remain outstanding from 2016 and 2017. It is essential that the unauthorised works carried out by the owner before submitting these retrospective applications be examined carefully before a decision is taken as to whether grant consent. Evidence was submitted as part of our original objection which, if borne out, shows that these works could be massively damaging to the fabric of the building and thus its longer-term integrity. We would fail in the objective to save The Cabinet if it reopened as a pub only to succumb in a few years to structural failure caused by damaging alterations. __________________________________________________

Planning permission for Cabinet split refused

and ACV listing renewed

In a double boost to the campaign to save The Cabinet, North Hertfordshire District Council has refused planning permission for sub-division of The Cabinet with creation of a “stub-pub”, as well as refusing the associated listed building consent. 48 written submissions from members of the public had been submitted objecting to planning permission, with a further 20 against listed building consent. Thank you to all the supporters who objected. Separately, following an application by Reed Parish Council, North Herts have also re-listed The Cabinet as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) following expiry of its existing listing. It will remain on the list until 28 March 2024. This means The Cabinet will continue to benefit from protection under the Localism Act 2011: there are limits to permitted development, there is provision for a community right to bid and there is the possibility of compulsory purchase by the local authority if there is a danger of long-term loss to the community. Just as importantly, the fact that a building is sufficiently loved to be an Asset of Community Value is a material consideration in any planning application. Both of these developments are welcome, but neither on their own will deliver an open pub back to Reed. We know there has been interest on the part of well-intentioned parties in acquiring the premises with a view to re-opening it as a pub - including a bid on behalf of the community by Reed Parish Council. With goodwill and common sense on all sides there is no reason why one of these expressions of interest should not bear fruit. __________________________________________________

Supporters urged to submit written

objections on Cabinet split plan

With the deadline of 21 March rapidly approaching, the Save the Cabinet Action Group is reminding supporters of the need to submit written objections on the plan to split The Cabinet in two. The easiest way to do so is online via the North Herts website. The application to subdivide the pub is here. The associated listed building application is here. The Action Group takes the view that a tiny “pub” is unlikely to succeed and that the offer to Reed Parish Council to take over three rooms while the rump of The Cabinet is used as a residence is merely an attempt to circumvent the recent decision of the Planning Inspectorate to refuse planning permission for change of use. A written objection should be in your own words but points which the Action Group considers particularly important are: the viability of The Cabinet as a whole was considered in great detail at the Public Inquiry which concluded that it could be viable; however a small bar without a kitchen, so that it could offer no food, is unlikely to be viable, and the lack of accommodation for a tenant or manager would pose still further problems the proposal is designed to fail and leave the way open for permanent change of use of the entire premises. The issues concerning change of use were fully explored during the Public Inquiry which dismissed the planning appeal, and nothing material has changed. the three-room “pub” proposed would be separated from the residence by a thin party wall and a fence, causing noise and other issues meaning the developments is unlikely to be sustainable longer-term the continuing demand for a pub in Reed is demonstrated by the level of community support for saving The Cabinet as a pub – including well- attended pop-up pub nights, the large attendance of villagers and others at the appeal, and the generosity of the community in raising funds to finance the resistance to the appeal If you need help with your objection, don’t hesitate to contact us. __________________________________________________

Large turnout as Reed Parish Council votes to

object to Cabinet split

Some 60 or so parishioners attended Reed Village Hall on 6 March for the meeting of Reed Parish Council which considered the latest planning applications in respect of The Cabinet. After a discussion, the Parish Council voted unanimously to object to the proposal to split The Cabinet in two, along with the associated listed building application. The Chair was instructed to write to the present owner declining his offer to use three rooms of the pub as a bar at a peppercorn rent. The Parish Council also decided unanimously to make a bid for the freehold of the pub along the lines described in their business plan. __________________________________________________

Parish Council meeting to be held as deadline

for written comments approaches

The Save the Cabinet Action Group invites supporters to attend the meeting of Reed Parish Council on Wednesday 6 March at which the latest Cabinet planning application will be discussed. The meeting, at Reed Village Hall, will start at 7pm, but the item on The Cabinet will be discussed around 8pm. The leaflet circulated by Reed Parish Council is here. Under the latest scheme, three rooms – the former lounge bar and restaurant – would become a small “pub”, which the owner would offer to Reed Parish Council to operate at a peppercorn rent. The main part of the building would be a residence. The application would also allow for a new car park to serve the new “pub”, leaving the existing one redundant. The Save the Cabinet Action Group considers the latest scheme to be a “trojan horse” - it looks like a gift, but in fact it is anything but. A small bar with no facilities to offer food would be a pale shadow of the lovely destination pub that attracted visitors from miles around. There would be nowhere for a tenant or manager to live, and it’s highly unlikely it would be practicable to run such a bar with volunteers alone. The overwhelming likelihood is that it would fail and, despite our success at the planning appeal, Reed would lose its last pub forever. Please come to the meeting. It will be important to demonstrate the strength of feeling in relation to this latest application. We encourage supporters to object. The easiest way to do so is online via the North Herts website. The application to subdivide the pub is here. The associated listed building application is here. The deadline is 21 March - (note that it was originally 12 March) so there would be plenty of time to listen to the the discussions at the Parish Council meeting before sending in any comments. The Parish Council will also consider whether to make a bid to buy the pub. Last year, it obtained borrowing authority from the government to borrow up to £400,000 for that purpose at a very low rate of interest - although the Parish Council’s business plan suggests that any offer would be a great deal less than that, having in mind the likely cost of restoration of the premises. Read more about this in our news archive and on Reed Parish Council’s website. __________________________________________________

New planning applications would split

Cabinet in two

Just two months after the planning appeal against refusal of permission for change of use was dismissed, the Reed community had good reason to think that the planning status of The Cabinet had been settled. Instead, two new planning applications have been submitted. The first would subdivide The Cabinet, making the old lounge bar and restaurant area into a small pub, while the remainder – the larger part – of the building would be a residence. It would also create a small car park at the northern end of the building. The second would cover all the listed building matters associated with such subdivision, including regularising the unauthorised works previously carried out. The current owner has apparently offered the new “pub” to Reed Parish Council at a peppercorn rent. But nobody should be fooled into thinking into thinking that this is an unexpected act of altruism or community goodwill on his part. This is a project that is being set up to fail, and then give the owner – an experienced property developer – carte blanche to realise his original aims in respect of the site. A tiny pub without any food offering, with nowhere on site for a tenant or manager to live, is unlikely to survive. It is doubtful that it would be practicable for it to be managed by volunteers. The development of a new car park at the northern end of The Cabinet would make the existing car park redundant – and doubtless an application for permission to build on it would soon follow. Far from amounting to a compromise, these latest applications amount to what is widely known as a “trojan horse”. It’s not hard to see the ruse it is. If it’s granted, The Cabinet as we have known it would be lost forever. The Save the Cabinet Action Group will be objecting to the proposal. We will be inviting neighbours and supporters to do so too. The deadline for doing so is 12 March. Reed Parish Council is due to meet to consider these applications on Wednesday 6 March. Read more about this special meeting here. We encourage neighbours and supporters to attend. __________________________________________________

Cabinet for sale or to rent

The Cabinet has been offered for sale or to rent. It’s listed at Fleurets, a well-known leisure property specialist, at the slightly eye-watering asking price of £595,000, or for rent at £40,000 p.a. The sales particulars make clear to any interested person that the premises have to be turned back into a pub. On the face of it, it’s good news that the developer who owns The Cabinet accepts that it needs to be restored as a pub. But if he’s sincere about wanting to sell or rent the property, anyone who attended the recent Public Inquiry could be forgiven for thinking the owner will need to lower his expectations about its value as a pub, especially when the buyer or the tenant will be faced with the considerable expense of restoring the pub fittings etc. __________________________________________________

Planning appeal dismissed! “A huge step on

the way to restoring our pub”

The Planning Inspector’s decision following November’s Public Inquiry has been published, and the appeal has been dismissed. This is, of course, the decision the Campaign and its supporters had been hoping for and it’s undoubtedly a huge step on the way to restoring our lovely old pub to its proper place at the heart of the community. It will undoubtedly put a spring in everyone’s step - especially at the forthcoming New Year’s Eve Pop-up Pub Night. Commenting on the decision, Mike Howes, Chair of the Save the Cabinet Action group, said: “We are naturally delighted and relieved at the decision to dismiss the appeal. It’s a massive step on the road to restoring The Cabinet to its proper place as a public house at the heart of this community. “At the New Year’s Eve event we’ll certainly raise a glass or two to our supporters and to our professional advisers, without whom we would never have reached this position. Let’s be clear – this is just one battle – albeit an important one – in the campaign to reclaim our pub and it’s too soon to declare victory. We will do that when the pub has been restored and we’re inside enjoying a pint. But that prospect just came a lot closer.” Read the Planning Inspector’s Decision here.