SAVE OUR VILLAGE PUB!

© Save the Cabinet Action Group 2021

Photo courtesy of Clive Porter

News Archive Part 1

Part 2 of the News Archive, with even older news stories. Part 3 of the New Archive, with older stories still! Back to the main News Page

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. _____________________________________ More news stories in News Archive part 2

SAVE OUR VILLAGE PUB!

© Save the Cabinet Action Group 2021

News

Archive

News Archive Part 1

Part 2 of the News Archive, with even older news stories. Part 3 of the New Archive, with older stories still! Back to the main News Page

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. _____________________________________ More news stories in News Archive part 2