SAVE OUR VILLAGE PUB!

© Save the Cabinet Action Group 2020

Campaign news

Latest planning application withdrawn

The owner of The Cabinet has withdrawn the planning application he lodged in July 2020. This would have subdivided the property, making the main two-storey section permanently into a house while preserving only the section currently occupied by an Indian restaurant and takeaway as a “pub”. This follows the surprising announcement in August by North Herts District Council that they did not intend to take any further action on the enforcement notice designed to prevent continued unauthorised use of the building as a residence. Many local residents and other supporters, including members of the Action Group, had submitted written objections to the proposals, and we considered there were strong reasons for the planning authority to refuse planning permission - even though, to all outward appearances, subdivision has already taken place. It follows that the whole of The Cabinet remains, in planning terms, a pub. We were originally under the apprehension that the application for listed building consent had also been withdrawn. In fact it is still current, and this story has been updated accordingly. Regular readers will be aware that no listed building consent exists for the various works carried out to the building since 2015, some of which, according to our expert advice, could cause significant long-term damage to the fabric of the building. The Action Group is seeking advice on next steps.

Vital stage in battle to save The Cabinet lies ahead

We know many supporters were disappointed with the news that that the Council had decided not to take action for breach of the planning enforcement notice that was supposed to prevent the continued unlawful use of The Cabinet as a house. The Action Group was not convinced by the reasons given by the Council for the decision. However, what is clear from the reasoning is that if the current "pub" - in fact an Indian takeaway in a small part of the building - were to close, continued use of the building as a residence could lead to prosecution in the criminal courts. Importantly, it was also made clear that the decision was entirely separate from the question of the current applications for planning and listed buildings consent. Let's be clear. This campaign is not over. Far from it. In fact, an existential battle, one that will determine the future of The Cabinet as a pub, lies ahead. The owner has applied for planning permission to subdivide the premises, treating the larger, two-storey section as his house, and the smaller section as a "pub". Many supporters have submitted written objections to this proposal - thank you. One of the questions raised was whether the Indian takeaway is actually a "pub" for planning purposes. But we need to focus on the bigger picture. That application, together with the associated application for listed building consent, must be refused in order to maintain The Cabinet’s status as a pub. Two years ago, the owner argued before a 3-day public inquiry that the planning inspector should allow him retrospective permission to turn the whole of the building permanently into a house because it was not viable as a pub. Viability is important because it's one of the few reasons for turning pubs into houses allowed under national and local planning policy. The planning inspector found The Cabinet could indeed be viable. Now the owner expects us to believe he thinks that a “pub” on the site less than half the size, with a maximum of just 50 people allowed on the premises, could be viable. It’s simply not credible. We fully expect that (contrary to the owner’s public protestations) ), if planning permission were to be granted the Indian restaurant would close after a short time and the last section of the premises would become part of the house. It's an obvious ploy and a common one, known among planning experts as a "Trojan horse". It’s inevitable that if this application is granted Reed would have lost its last pub forever. We need to continue to pull together as a community to do everything we can to prevent that happening. We have every confidence that the Council will see this ruse for what it is. We'll keep you up to date with news as we receive it. But we don't expect a decision before October.

Council to take no action on enforcement notice

We have learned that North Herts District Council have decided not to take action under the enforcement notice, which was supposed to prevent The Cabinet being used unlawfully as a residence. The email announcing the decision states that following a site inspection planning officers have concluded that the current residential use of The Cabinet is incidental to the running of the “Spice Cabinet” restaurant and takeaway. The officer also states that the enforcement notice continues in force and that any residential use that is not incidental to the authorised use would be a criminal matter. They also assert that this finding does not affect the current applications for planning and listed building consent. It seems clear that the planning officers have had the wool pulled over their eyes. It is evident to anybody who cares to look that Mr Newman is continuing to use the main part of the building as his residence. His intentions are clear from the fact that he has applied for planning permission to subdivide the premises and treat the main part of them as a house In all the circumstances it is abundantly clear to us that the finding is misconceived and illogical. The Action Group will be seeking independent advice on the finding by NHDC before deciding on next steps. Meanwhile we need to keep our focus on the current planning applications which, if granted, would almost certainly mean the permanent loss of the pub to the village. We understand these will not be determined before October.

Decision on Cabinet applications unlikely before October

We’d like to thank everyone who submitted a written objection to the latest planning and listed building applications. 65 objections to the planning application, and 27 to the listed building application, have been recorded by NHDC. That’s a fantastic confirmation of the strength of feeling about the case, especially when the campaign has been running for nearly 4 years. So what now? We think there’s a strong case for refusing these applications but, disappointingly, NHDC have said they are not going to determine them until October – an extension agreed with the applicant, apparently. The plus side of all this is that we all have the opportunity to submit more material. The planning authority is bound to consider any relevant evidence submitted before determination – so if you have something important to say you still can - but you can’t use the online route - use one of the other methods set out in the article below. Meanwhile the time for compliance with the enforcement notice designed to prevent The Cabinet being used as a residence expires on 8 August. Once the deadline has passed all eyes will be on NHDC. They will need to satisfy themselves that there is sufficiently strong evidence of a continuing breach of planning control, however obvious it may appear to the rest of us; that’s fair enough – but once that is done it will be open to the council to prosecute the owner. A number of villagers have been writing to the council (without any co-ordination from the Action Group) to enquire what they intend to do, receiving non-committal responses. But if NHDC take no action it will be clear for all to see that one law applies to the owner of The Cabinet and another to the rest of us – and the planning system, at least so far as it is applied in North Herts, will be a laughing stock.

Time to act to save The Cabinet! Please object to the latest planning applications

We need to ask supporters once again to act to save lovely old Cabinet, the last pub in Reed which is once again under threat from new planning applications. Please send in written objections by the deadline of 24 July. Guidance on how to do so is below. The owner of The Cabinet has submitted yet more planning applications—the principal effect of which would be to let him treat the main part of the building as his residence permanently—with only a small part retained as a so-called “pub”, which is actually an Indian restaurant. He has been using the local papers and social media to promote the “Spice Cabinet” restaurant that has opened in the single-storey section of the building. There’s a risk that people who aren’t aware of the context could be taken in and think we are just objecting because it’s an Indian restaurant. But the latest planning applications give the game away. They would not even legitimise the current restaurant and takeaway arrangement. And if the main part of The Cabinet became a residence permanently we doubt the proposed “pub” would survive for long. Make no mistake—If these applications are granted, the overwhelming likelihood is that the developer’s money- making scheme to make the whole of The Cabinet his house would be achieved, and the lovely old pub will be lost to the community forever. You can view the latest applications on the NJHDC website. The planning application is here, and the listed buildings application is here. The supporting documents are the same. Reasons need to be based on planning considerations - and we do understand that some of these may seem rather technical. Some suggested reasons are set out below. If you agree, please express these in your own words. Please contact us if you would like further advice. Whatever the minor differences, these retrospective applications are very similar in overall effect to the applications for permission for subdivision refused last year. It would be inconsistent, unreasonable and irrational of the Council to grant these applications so soon after refusing near-identical ones. Change of use of the entire building was refused following an appeal held as a public inquiry in 2018 and in reality this application is an attempt to go over this again. It’s no coincidence that the planning enforcement notice to stop The Cabinet being used as a residence is due to come into force in August. If permission for the main part of the building to be used as a residence is granted, we have obtained professional opinion to the effect that public house use as described in the applications would be unviable. A further application for change of use of the remaining “pub” area would surely follow. It is entirely predictable that the entire pub would be lost to the village forever. The applicant has created a restaurant, not a pub. The application does not cover this sort of arrangement. What is more, a restaurant does not have the same purpose as a pub and the suggestion by the applicant that the arrangement described in the application would mean the village would “get back this valued community facility” is obviously false. The applicant has not adequately identified the detail of the internal alterations that have been carried out, nor provided any justification for them, or provided reasons as to why the layout should not simply be returned to how it was before he took possession of the building. Moreover, he has already carried out many of the works shown in the drawings and these do not have listed buildings consent. A large and unsightly kitchen extraction arrangement has been installed – there is no planning permission nor listed buildings consent for this, nor is it included in the present applications. We need as many supporters as possible to object in order to demonstrate yet again the strength of feeling about saving our pub. The easiest and quickest way to do so is online - see the links above. Alternatively you can email planning.control@north-herts.gov.uk or write to Planning Control and Conservation, North Hertfordshire District Council, PO Box 10613, Nottingham NG6 6DW. Be sure to quote reference 20/01349/FP (planning permission) or 20/01350/LBC (listed buildings consent). Remember, the deadline is Friday 24 July - so please act quickly!

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

For a variety of technical and practical reasons we are reluctantly having to cancel the proposed virtual village meeting. All those who registered for it have been informed.

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.

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Latest planning application withdrawn

The owner of The Cabinet has withdrawn the planning application he lodged in July 2020. This would have subdivided the property, making the main two-storey section permanently into a house while preserving only the section currently occupied by an Indian restaurant and takeaway as a “pub”. This follows the surprising announcement in August by North Herts District Council that they did not intend to take any further action on the enforcement notice designed to prevent continued unauthorised use of the building as a residence. Many local residents and other supporters, including members of the Action Group, had submitted written objections to the proposals, and we considered there were strong reasons for the planning authority to refuse planning permission - even though, to all outward appearances, subdivision has already taken place. It follows that the whole of The Cabinet remains, in planning terms, a pub. We were originally under the apprehension that the application for listed building consent had also been withdrawn. In fact it is still current, and this story has been updated accordingly. Regular readers will be aware that no listed building consent exists for the various works carried out to the building since 2015, some of which, according to our expert advice, could cause significant long-term damage to the fabric of the building. The Action Group is seeking advice on next steps.

Vital stage in battle to save The Cabinet lies

ahead

We know many supporters were disappointed with the news that that the Council had decided not to take action for breach of the planning enforcement notice that was supposed to prevent the continued unlawful use of The Cabinet as a house. The Action Group was not convinced by the reasons given by the Council for the decision. However, what is clear from the reasoning is that if the current "pub" - in fact an Indian takeaway in a small part of the building - were to close, continued use of the building as a residence could lead to prosecution in the criminal courts. Importantly, it was also made clear that the decision was entirely separate from the question of the current applications for planning and listed buildings consent. Let's be clear. This campaign is not over. Far from it. In fact, an existential battle, one that will determine the future of The Cabinet as a pub, lies ahead. The owner has applied for planning permission to subdivide the premises, treating the larger, two- storey section as his house, and the smaller section as a "pub". Many supporters have submitted written objections to this proposal - thank you. One of the questions raised was whether the Indian takeaway is actually a "pub" for planning purposes. But we need to focus on the bigger picture. That application, together with the associated application for listed building consent, must be refused in order to maintain The Cabinet’s status as a pub. Two years ago, the owner argued before a 3-day public inquiry that the planning inspector should allow him retrospective permission to turn the whole of the building permanently into a house because it was not viable as a pub. Viability is important because it's one of the few reasons for turning pubs into houses allowed under national and local planning policy. The planning inspector found The Cabinet could indeed be viable. Now the owner expects us to believe he thinks that a “pub” on the site less than half the size, with a maximum of just 50 people allowed on the premises, could be viable. It’s simply not credible. We fully expect that (contrary to the owner’s public protestations) ), if planning permission were to be granted the Indian restaurant would close after a short time and the last section of the premises would become part of the house. It's an obvious ploy and a common one, known among planning experts as a "Trojan horse". It’s inevitable that if this application is granted Reed would have lost its last pub forever. We need to continue to pull together as a community to do everything we can to prevent that happening. We have every confidence that the Council will see this ruse for what it is. We'll keep you up to date with news as we receive it. But we don't expect a decision before October.

Council to take no action on enforcement

notice

We have learned that North Herts District Council have decided not to take action under the enforcement notice, which was supposed to prevent The Cabinet being used unlawfully as a residence. The email announcing the decision states that following a site inspection planning officers have concluded that the current residential use of The Cabinet is incidental to the running of the “Spice Cabinet” restaurant and takeaway. The officer also states that the enforcement notice continues in force and that any residential use that is not incidental to the authorised use would be a criminal matter. They also assert that this finding does not affect the current applications for planning and listed building consent. It seems clear that the planning officers have had the wool pulled over their eyes. It is evident to anybody who cares to look that Mr Newman is continuing to use the main part of the building as his residence. His intentions are clear from the fact that he has applied for planning permission to subdivide the premises and treat the main part of them as a house In all the circumstances it is abundantly clear to us that the finding is misconceived and illogical. The Action Group will be seeking independent advice on the finding by NHDC before deciding on next steps. Meanwhile we need to keep our focus on the current planning applications which, if granted, would almost certainly mean the permanent loss of the pub to the village. We understand these will not be determined before October.

Decision on Cabinet applications unlikely

before October

We’d like to thank everyone who submitted a written objection to the latest planning and listed building applications. 65 objections to the planning application, and 27 to the listed building application, have been recorded by NHDC. That’s a fantastic confirmation of the strength of feeling about the case, especially when the campaign has been running for nearly 4 years. So what now? We think there’s a strong case for refusing these applications but, disappointingly, NHDC have said they are not going to determine them until October – an extension agreed with the applicant, apparently. The plus side of all this is that we all have the opportunity to submit more material. The planning authority is bound to consider any relevant evidence submitted before determination – so if you have something important to say you still can - but you can’t use the online route - use one of the other methods set out in the article below. Meanwhile the time for compliance with the enforcement notice designed to prevent The Cabinet being used as a residence expires on 8 August. Once the deadline has passed all eyes will be on NHDC. They will need to satisfy themselves that there is sufficiently strong evidence of a continuing breach of planning control, however obvious it may appear to the rest of us; that’s fair enough – but once that is done it will be open to the council to prosecute the owner. A number of villagers have been writing to the council (without any co-ordination from the Action Group) to enquire what they intend to do, receiving non-committal responses. But if NHDC take no action it will be clear for all to see that one law applies to the owner of The Cabinet and another to the rest of us – and the planning system, at least so far as it is applied in North Herts, will be a laughing stock.

Time to act to save The Cabinet! Please object

to the latest planning applications

We need to ask supporters once again to act to save lovely old Cabinet, the last pub in Reed which is once again under threat from new planning applications. Please send in written objections by the deadline of 24 July. Guidance on how to do so is below. The owner of The Cabinet has submitted yet more planning applications—the principal effect of which would be to let him treat the main part of the building as his residence permanently—with only a small part retained as a so-called “pub”, which is actually an Indian restaurant. He has been using the local papers and social media to promote the “Spice Cabinet” restaurant that has opened in the single-storey section of the building. There’s a risk that people who aren’t aware of the context could be taken in and think we are just objecting because it’s an Indian restaurant. But the latest planning applications give the game away. They would not even legitimise the current restaurant and takeaway arrangement. And if the main part of The Cabinet became a residence permanently we doubt the proposed “pub” would survive for long. Make no mistake—If these applications are granted, the overwhelming likelihood is that the developer’s money-making scheme to make the whole of The Cabinet his house would be achieved, and the lovely old pub will be lost to the community forever. You can view the latest applications on the NJHDC website. The planning application is here, and the listed buildings application is here. The supporting documents are the same. Reasons need to be based on planning considerations - and we do understand that some of these may seem rather technical. Some suggested reasons are set out below. If you agree, please express these in your own words. Please contact us if you would like further advice. Whatever the minor differences, these retrospective applications are very similar in overall effect to the applications for permission for subdivision refused last year. It would be inconsistent, unreasonable and irrational of the Council to grant these applications so soon after refusing near-identical ones. Change of use of the entire building was refused following an appeal held as a public inquiry in 2018 and in reality this application is an attempt to go over this again. It’s no coincidence that the planning enforcement notice to stop The Cabinet being used as a residence is due to come into force in August. If permission for the main part of the building to be used as a residence is granted, we have obtained professional opinion to the effect that public house use as described in the applications would be unviable. A further application for change of use of the remaining “pub” area would surely follow. It is entirely predictable that the entire pub would be lost to the village forever. The applicant has created a restaurant, not a pub. The application does not cover this sort of arrangement. What is more, a restaurant does not have the same purpose as a pub and the suggestion by the applicant that the arrangement described in the application would mean the village would “get back this valued community facility” is obviously false. The applicant has not adequately identified the detail of the internal alterations that have been carried out, nor provided any justification for them, or provided reasons as to why the layout should not simply be returned to how it was before he took possession of the building. Moreover, he has already carried out many of the works shown in the drawings and these do not have listed buildings consent. A large and unsightly kitchen extraction arrangement has been installed – there is no planning permission nor listed buildings consent for this, nor is it included in the present applications. We need as many supporters as possible to object in order to demonstrate yet again the strength of feeling about saving our pub. The easiest and quickest way to do so is online - see the links above. Alternatively you can email planning.control@north- herts.gov.uk or write to Planning Control and Conservation, North Hertfordshire District Council, PO Box 10613, Nottingham NG6 6DW. Be sure to quote reference 20/01349/FP (planning permission) or 20/01350/LBC (listed buildings consent). Remember, the deadline is Friday 24 July - so please act quickly!

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

For a variety of technical and practical reasons we are reluctantly having to cancel the proposed virtual village meeting. All those who registered for it have been informed.

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.