149-year-old Hitchin pub set to close as developers demand demolition

PUBLISHED: 13:56 24 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:44 24 November 2016

Owner Nicky Craven in happier times as she unveils new wallpaper designed especially for The Radcliffe.

Owner Nicky Craven in happier times as she unveils new wallpaper designed especially for The Radcliffe.

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A Hitchin pub which has served food and drink to punters continuously since it was built in 1867 is set to close on Christmas Eve - with property developers wanting to completely demolish the Victorian structure to build flats.

The Radcliffe ArmsThe Radcliffe Arms

The Radcliffe in Walsworth Road, built in the 19th century and originally called The Rougeley Arms, started a new chapter in March 2015 when Mark and Nicky Craven became landlords – turning it into a gastropub serving fine food.

However, despite glowing reviews, the pub is set to close next month.

A disappointed Nicky told the Comet: “It’s with great sadness we announce The Radcliffe will close at the end of the year.

“We’d like to thank our customers, staff and suppliers for all their support over the last couple of years.

“We were very excited to build and grow our own small, independent, local, business. Despite huge personal investment, working tirelessly and with the support from both our amazing team of staff and our regular customers to make this a success, the business has, unfortunately, continued to make a loss.

“Following significant deliberation, it’s with huge regret we have decided to close. We’re now exploring a number of alternative options, including other uses for the site.”

An planning application on the site was lodged with North Herts District Council on Friday, November 11, with the applicant listed as Blue Chilli Limited, Richmond House, Walkern Road, Stevenage, and the agent as AT4 Architects, The Barn, The White House, Preston Road, Gosmore.

The document calls for a change of use from pub to residential ‘including demolition of public house and erection of a block of four flats and three town houses with associated parking’.

However, a Comet investigation has unearthed a Conservation Area Character Statement dated July 26, 2011. According to that, The Radcliffe is designated as a ‘positive’ building located within Hitchin’s Victorian Triangle – which is a conservation area. As such any attempt to demolish a building within the triangle faces extra layers of discussion on top of planning talks.

To post a comment on the planning application visit north-herts.gov.uk.

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