Knebworth community group takes 'incredibly positive step' towards buying village pub
PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 April 2019
A community group has formally requested to be treated as a potential buyer of a village pub and has six months to develop a plan and raise the money.
The Station in Knebworth, which closed in February 2017, was put on the market last month with an asking price of £595,000.
It follows a two-year campaign to save the pub from a developer with plans to erect a block of flats right next to it.
The developer always insisted the plans included reopening the pub on Station Approach, but campaign group Save Our Station Pub was concerned the close proximity of the development would make this unviable.
North Herts District Council refused the planning application last May on grounds which included poor design and layout, but the Planning Inspectorate upheld an appeal and granted planning permission in January.
The pub building - with a garden for up to 50 covers - and the land were put up for sale separately in March and, as both are listed as Assets of Community Value, communtiy groups had six weeks to request in writing to be treated as a potential buyer.
The SOS Pub group says it has done this, following a public meeting to confirm sufficient financial and volunteer support from the community.
They now have six months to develop a business case and raise the money needed.
Campaigner Ed Farthing said: “The Save Our Station Pub group has now formally registered itself as a Community Interest Company and requested to be treated as a potential bidder for the site, including both the pub and the land adjacent to the pub.
“This is an incredibly positive step towards bringing The Station back for the benefit of the community.
“Details are to follow soon outlining the community fundraising plans we have, including a share plan allowing you to play an active part in purchasing the pub.
“We are still looking to increase our volunteer base to support the campaign as we enter it’s most vital stage. If you have any time to spare over the coming months, please let us know.” Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets to a fundraising quiz night at Knebworth Village Hall at 7pm on May 11 are £10 each, including supper. To book, email email@example.com or call 01438 216 873.