SAVE OUR VILLAGE PUB!

© Save the Cabinet Action Group 2019

Photo courtesy of Clive Porter

Older news stories can now be found

in the News Archive. Click here.

Battle lines drawn as appeal deadline passes

The deadline for submissions to the Planning Inspectorate expired on 14 June. The Save the Cabinet Action Group has been granted “Rule 6 status”, which means it has the same status as the other parties and can call expert evidence. The Group has submitted its statement of case, and we know NHDC has done so too. We expect these to become public documents in the coming days, so watch this space for further news. We also know that many supporters have written to the Planning Inspectorate and we would like to thank everyone for doing so. We now need to turn our focus back to funding the appeal. News of more events will be available soon. Meanwhile, remember you can support us here!

Public Inquiry provisionally set for November

The parties to the appeal - the appellant (i.e. the developer who owns the pub), the District Council and the Save the Cabinet Action group - have all agreed on a dates of 6-8 November for what is expected to be a three-day public inquiry. Provided a Planning Inspector can be allocated to the case for those dates, that is when the appeal will take place. Whilst we might have preferred to move ahead with the case more quickly, we do accept that a major event such as a public inquiry requires considerable preparation on all sides. The Action Group will use the time, with our advisers, to piece together the best possible case in favour of preserving our lovely old pub. We will publish more news when we have it. Meanwhile, we are asking supporters to put the dates in their diaries. We will need a good turnout of supporters when the inquiry takes place.

New funding appeal as decisive autumn approaches

The campaign to save the 400-year-old Cabinet at Reed enters a decisive phase this autumn. In July 2017, retrospective planning permission for change of use was refused by North Herts councillors. Unsurprisingly, the developer appealed. Earlier this year, the Action Group launched a petition designed to make sure the appeal was held in public and not in writing, which attracted about 1500 signatures. This – plus the intervention of the local MP – persuaded the Planning Inspectorate to upgrade the appeal to a Public Inquiry. That’s good news in that it means all the evidence will be brought out in detail – and the Action Group think they have a strong case for saving the pub. That Inquiry will be held at Letchworth on 6-8 November, and the Action Group is asking as many people as possible to attend and support them. Less good news is that these sorts of procedures are formal and expensive, and the campaign to save the pub needs urgently to raise money to pay for a lawyer and expert witnesses. Edwin Kilby, vice-chair of the Action Group, said, “The developer who owns the pub will undoubtedly be represented by an expensive lawyer. We need a lawyer too, otherwise it would be like marching naked into the lion’s den.” Various activities have proved successful at raising funds but at the time of writing there was still a shortfall. So we are asking all supporters please to give what the can to the Fighting Fund. The easiest way to do so is online via JustGiving.

Public Inquiry closes after three-day hearing

After three days, which included statements from members of the public, intense cross-examination over some fairly technical legal issues and questions concerning planning policy, heritage and viability, the Inquiry dealing with the developer’s appeal against refusal of planning permission for change of use concluded on time. The Planning Inspector who heard the case and will make the decision in due course also undertook a site visit to The Cabinet, remarking afterwards how pleasant and sunny it had been. No less than 42 supporters attended the first day of the Inquiry on Tuesday 6 November, and a strong contingent attended the second and third days, too. The Action Group would like to thank everyone who attended. At the close, the Inspector added that he expected to make a decision in “weeks, rather than months”. We hope to have a clearer idea of timing next week. We think our team of lawyers and experts made a strong case, supporting North Herts District Council who also robustly defended the appeal. We have been saying for some time that we expect common sense will prevail, and that remains the position. Cross your fingers, everyone!

Planning appeal decision expected before Christmas

The Planning Inspectorate, which oversees planning appeals, has announced that the decision following the Public Inquiry into refusal of planning permission in the case of The Cabinet will be published on or before 21 December. If, as the campaign hopes, the appeal is dismissed, it’s important that North Herts District Council takes immediate and effective enforcement action to protect the building and prevent it being used as a residence. Two retrospective applications for listed building consent also need to be determined without further delay. Meanwhile, the Action Group has published a summary of its accounts which show that after paying its bills the group has a shortfall of £2,000. New events, including a New Year Pop-up Pub Night, are planned. The JustGiving page remains open for donations, with a reduced target.

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.

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.

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 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.

Campaign reaches its climax as Public Inquiry opens

The planning appeal concerning The Cabinet will be heard by way of a Public Inquiry opening on Tuesday 6 and due to finish on Thursday 8 November. It will be held at the Council Offices, Letchworth. The Save the Cabinet Action Group is asking supporters to attend if they possibly can. We know many people have expressed interest in speaking - please be aware that if you wish to speak you will need to be present at the start - 10 am on Tuesday 6. It is most unlikely that the decision will be given during the Inquiry. The normal procedure is for the Inspector to leave the hearing, consider his findings and publish a decision some weeks later. That decision will effectively determine the future of the pub. If the developer who owns the property wins his appeal, Reed will have lost its last pub forever. If the appeal is dismissed, however, it will be a huge step towards reclaiming The Cabinet for the community. We think we have a good case and are confident that good sense will prevail. We have been overwhelmed by the huge support for the campaign over the last two years and would like to thank everyone who has supported us as we go into this pivotal week. The end of the appeal will not mean the end of the campaign. We still need to raise funds and events are being contemplated between now and New Year - watch this space, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, for more information.
Dates confirmed for Public Inquiry The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that the Public Inquiry will take place over three days from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 November at the Council offices at Letchworth.  Three days are considered necessary because of the time needed to hear expert evidence.  Inquiries usually include a period for interested parties such as members of the public to speak to set out their concerns normally on the final day - in this case, 8 November.  The Action Group is asking supporters to put the dates in diaries now.  We recognise that it’s a long way off and that for many the Inquiry will take place during working hours, but we will need as many supporters as can to attend.  This can really help influence the Inspector by demonstrating the level of community support for the campaign - and could really make a difference to the overall result.

SAVE OUR VILLAGE PUB!

© Save the Cabinet Action group 2019

News

Public Inquiry provisionally set for November

The parties to the appeal - the appellant (i.e. the developer who owns the pub), the District Council and the Save the Cabinet Action group - have all agreed on a dates of 6-8 November for what is expected to be a three-day public inquiry. Provided a Planning Inspector can be allocated to the case for those dates, that is when the appeal will take place. Whilst we might have preferred to move ahead with the case more quickly, we do accept that a major event such as a public inquiry requires considerable preparation on all sides. The Action Group will use the time, with our advisers, to piece together the best possible case in favour of preserving our lovely old pub. We will publish more news when we have it. Meanwhile, we are asking supporters to put the dates in their diaries. We will need a good turnout of supporters when the inquiry takes place.

Dates confirmed for Public Inquiry

The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that the Public Inquiry will take place over three days from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 November at Letchworth. Three days are considered necessary because of the time needed to hear expert evidence. Inquiries usually include a period for interested parties such as members of the public to speak to set out their concerns normally on the final day - in this case, 8 November. The Action Group is asking supporters to put the dates in diaries now. We recognise that it’s a long way off and that for many the Inquiry will take place during working hours, but we will need as many supporters as we practically can to attend. This can really help influence the Inspector by demonstrating the level of community support for the campaign - and could really make a difference to the overall result. Meanwhile we are asking supporters to write to the Planning Inspectorate by the deadline of 14 June stating that they stand by their objections and, if possible, will attend the Inquiry to assist the Inspector.
Older news stories can now be found in the News Archive.

Battle lines drawn as appeal deadline passes

The deadline for submissions to the Planning Inspectorate expired on 14 June. The Save the Cabinet Action Group has been granted “Rule 6 status”, which means it has the same status as the other parties and can call expert evidence. The Group has submitted its statement of case, and we know NHDC has done so too. We expect these to become public documents in the coming days, so watch this space for further news. We also know that many supporters have written to the Planning Inspectorate and we would like to thank everyone for doing so. We need to turn our focus back to funding the appeal. News of more events will be available soon. Meanwhile, remember you can support us here!

New funding appeal as decisive autumn

approaches

The campaign to save the 400-year-old Cabinet at Reed enters a decisive phase this autumn. In July 2017, retrospective planning permission for change of use was refused by North Herts councillors. Unsurprisingly, the developer appealed. Earlier this year, the Action Group launched a petition designed to make sure the appeal was held in public and not in writing, which attracted about 1500 signatures. This – plus the intervention of the local MP – persuaded the Planning Inspectorate to upgrade the appeal to a Public Inquiry. That’s good news in that it means all the evidence will be brought out in detail – and the Action Group think they have a strong case for saving the pub. That Inquiry will be held at Letchworth on 6-8 November, and the Action Group is asking as many people as possible to attend and support them. Less good news is that these sorts of procedures are formal and expensive, and the campaign to save the pub needs urgently to raise money to pay for a lawyer and expert witnesses. Edwin Kilby, vice-chair of the Action Group, said, “The developer who owns the pub will undoubtedly be represented by an expensive lawyer. We need a lawyer too, otherwise it would be like marching naked into the lion’s den.” Various activities have proved successful at raising funds but at the time of writing there was still a shortfall. So we are asking all supporters please to give what the can to the Fighting Fund. The easiest way to do so is online via JustGiving.

Campaign reaches its climax as Public Inquiry

opens

The planning appeal concerning The Cabinet will be heard by way of a Public Inquiry opening on Tuesday 6 and due to finish on Thursday 8 November. It will be held at the Council Offices, Letchworth. More information is here. The Save the Cabinet Action Group is asking supporters to attend if they possibly can. We know many people have expressed interest in speaking - please be aware that if you wish to speak you will need to be present at the start - 10 am on Tuesday 6. It is most unlikely that the decision will be given during the Inquiry. The normal procedure is for the Inspector to leave the hearing, consider his findings and publish a decision some weeks later. That decision will effectively determine the future of the pub. If the developer who owns the property wins his appeal, Reed will have lost its last pub forever. If the appeal is dismissed, however, it will be a huge step towards reclaiming The Cabinet for the community. We think we have a good case and are confident that good sense will prevail. We have been overwhelmed by the huge support for the campaign over the last two years and would like to thank everyone who has supported us as we go into this pivotal week. The end of the appeal will not mean the end of the campaign. We still need to raise funds and events are being contemplated between now and New Year - watch this space, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, for more information.

Public Inquiry closes after three-day hearing

After three days, which included statements from members of the public, intense cross-examination over some fairly technical legal issues and questions concerning planning policy, heritage and viability, the Inquiry dealing with the developer’s appeal against refusal of planning permission for change of use concluded on time. The Planning Inspector who heard the case and will make the decision in due course also undertook a site visit to The Cabinet, remarking afterwards how pleasant and sunny it had been. No less than 42 supporters attended the first day of the Inquiry on Tuesday, and a strong contingent attended the second and third days, too. The Action Group would like to thank everyone who attended. At the close, the Inspector added that he expected to make a decision in “weeks, rather than months”. We hope to have a clearer idea of timing next week. We think our team of lawyers and experts made a strong case, supporting North Herts District Council who also robustly defended the appeal. We have been saying for some time that we expect common sense will prevail, and that remains the position. Cross your fingers, everyone!

Planning appeal decision expected before

Christmas

The Planning Inspectorate, which oversees planning appeals, has announced that the decision following the Public Inquiry into refusal of planning permission in the case of The Cabinet will be published on or before 21 December. If, as the campaign hopes, the appeal is dismissed, it’s important that North Herts District Council takes immediate and effective enforcement action to protect
the building and prevent it being used as a residence. Two retrospective applications for listed building consent also need to be determined without further delay. Meanwhile, the Action Group has published a summary of its accounts which show that after paying its bills the group has a shortfall of £2,000. New events, including a New Year Pop-up Pub Night, are planned. The JustGiving page remains open for donations, with a reduced target.

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.

Cabinet for sale or to rent

The New Year dawned with the news that The Cabinet is listed at Fleurets, a well-known leisure property specialist, at the slightly eye-watering asking price of £595,000, or for 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.

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 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.