Concerns Hitchin town centre pub put up for sale could become shop or restaurant

The Kings Arms in Hitchin is up for sale

The Kings Arms in Hitchin is up for sale - Credit: Archant

CONCERNS have been raised over the future of a town centre pub, which has been put up for sale.

The Kings Arms in Hitchin is up for sale

The Kings Arms in Hitchin is up for sale - Credit: Archant

The Kings Arms in Hitchin is on the market for a guide price of £650,000, and there are fears it could be purchased and converted into a shop or chain restaurant.

The Grade-II listed building, situated in Bucklersbury, is open to informal tender until September 19.

North Herts CAMRA secretary Paul Beardsley said: “It’s one of our few genuine free houses in town and our concern is that if it’s got A4 planning permission, there’s a real danger it could change to a restaurant, shop, or something else, because you can change from A4 to A1, A2 or A3 without getting planning permission.

“It’s a big building, and it’s right in the middle of town. We have concerns.”

The pub’s car park and beer garden would be included in the sale, and the listing by estate agent Norgans states there is “potential for redevelopment”.

But it also says offers will only be accepted for the whole site and offers on a “subject to planning basis” will not be considered.

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On its website listing, Norgans says: “(This is) a truly rare opportunity to acquire an attractive Grade-II listed property with frontage to Bucklersbury and set within the historic conservation area.

“(This is) an exceptional opportunity – suitable for a variety of uses and development options subject to the usual consents.”

The pub owners, who have been at the pub for a number of years, are looking for a quick sale, and want to exchange contracts within 28 days of the draft contract receipt.

It comes just weeks after pub chain Wetherspoon bought Hitchin Conservative Club in nearby Sun Street.

Town centre manager Keith Hoskins said: “It’s a listed building, going out with local agents.

“It will be a local decision, opposite to the Conservative Club, which was a Conservative Club head office decision, so I’m sure they will be more amiable to a sympathetic new usage.

“It has a lot of potential. It would be very nice if someone local purchased it.”