Welcome to the campaign to save
the 400-year old Cabinet pub in the
village of Reed in Hertfordshire.
The Cabinet is a Grade II listed building, the last pub
in the village, and is believed to be the only pub in the
country bearing the name. It has served the
residents of Reed and the surrounding area as a pub
for some 400 years.
To the horror of the local community, the present
owner turned The Cabinet into a house without
planning permission or listed building consent, only
applying for these retrospectively.
The Save the Cabinet Action Group has been
leading the fight to resist these applications and
restore The Cabinet to its proper place as a beautiful
village pub at the heart of the local community.
Permission for change of use was definitively refused
following a planning appeal heard as a Public Inquiry
in 2018. An enforcement notice requiring that the
building should stop being used as a private
residence is due to come into force in early August
Unfortunately the present owner has continued to
ignore the requirements of planning law. In 2019 he
applied for permission to subdivide the pub, only
opening a small part of it as a pub and treating the
majority as his residence. This was refused - but
during the lockdown caused by the 2020 pandemic he
subdivided the building anyway, opening a small part
of it as a small “bar, restaurant and takeaway” under
the name “The Spice Cabinet”. New planning and
listed building applications would, if granted, confirm
this arrangement, meaning that the main part of the
building would be lost as a pub forever - with the
probability that the “restaurant” area would soon
Read more about the planning history here.
The Action Group has been leading the fight to save
The Cabinet as pub since 2016. It will continue the
fight now. Please support us.
We need to raise further funds to help meet the costs
of resisting the latest planning applications. Please
help if you can. Read more about supporting the
campaign, including ways to donate, here.
Frequently asked questions
Didn’t the pub close because it wasn’t
No. It closed because of the theft of a
substantial amount of money from the takings,
meaning the bills could not be paid. The publican
tried to continue but, in the end, had to accept reality
and became bankrupt. He tells us that had it not
been for that incident there’s no reason why the pub
should not still be trading today.
Surely the pub could never be viable in
today’s climate? Rural pubs struggle these days.
We have demonstrated to the satisfaction of a
planning inspector at a three-day Public Inquiry on
the basis of cogent evidence that The Cabinet could
indeed be viable. Other village pubs in this area are
very successful and there is every reason to suppose
that The Cabinet, with its substantial support base,
could be too.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and
Local Government was sufficiently satisfied on the
basis of a business plan that The Cabinet could be
viable that it granted the local Parish Council
authority to take out a loan from the government to
buy the pub. Unfortunately, the Parish Council’s offer
was turned down by the owner.
Isn’t the pub open again?
A small “bar, restaurant and takeaway” has been
opened in a small part of the building while the main,
two storey, section is used as a private residence. The
problem with this arrangement is that it splits the
building in two, putting the majority of the former
trading area into residential use – a change which
requires planning and listed building consent which
has been refused - and increasing the likelihood that
the pub as a whole will be lost forever. A small “bar,
restaurant and takeaway” does not perform the same
function within a community as a village pub.
You just don’t want an Indian restaurant in
We would welcome an Indian, or any other
suitable type of restaurant as part of a fully reopened
pub. It’s not hard to imagine The Spice Cabinet as
part of a village pub, and we imagine the extra trading
area would benefit it too.
Despite efforts by the owner to sell, nobody
wants to buy The Cabinet.
Not true. We know that generous offers to buy
the freehold have been made but refused by the
owner, who was asking an unrealistically high price.
He also turned down an offer by Reed Parish Council.
Established operators have also enquired about
leasing the premises to open the whole of them as a
pub, but they too have been rebuffed.
The previous owners, too, rebuffed credible
expressions of interest in buying or leasing the pub,
instead selling it by auction at a price significantly
greater than its value as a pub.
You’re just complaining because changes that
you don’t like have been made by the landlord.
We are complaining because the owner – a
property developer – turned the much-loved Cabinet
into a house without planning permission or listed
building consent, depriving the village of an
important community asset. Planning permission has
since been definitively refused following an appeal
heard at a Public Inquiry. Splitting off part of the
building for use as restaurant and takeaway also
needs planning permission. A previous application to
subdivide the premises was refused last year but the
owner has gone ahead regardless. There is also
evidence that some of the changes made to the fabric
of the building could cause long-term damage if not
SAVE OUR VILLAGE PUB!
© Save the Cabinet Action Group 2021
The Save the Cabinet
The Action Group was founded in
September 2016. Its aim is to preserve
The Cabinet, the last pub in the village of
Reed in Hertfordshire. It has led the
resistance to the various planning
applications and the appeal.
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