‘Extremely dilapidated’ Hitchin pub back up for sale

Part of the current interior of the Sir John Barleycorn.

Part of the current interior of the Sir John Barleycorn. - Credit: Archant

A much-loved Hitchin pub which was due to be reopened by its owners is now back on the market – potentially as housing.

Locals congragate outside the Sir John Barleycorn, which is going back on the market.

Locals congragate outside the Sir John Barleycorn, which is going back on the market. - Credit: Archant

The Sir John Barleycorn, where pints were set to be pulled again next month according to plans circulated by its owners Punch Taverns, is now being marketed as a possible residential development.

A spokesman for Punch Taverns told the Comet: “Punch had genuine intentions to invest in a refurbishment at the Sir John Barleycorn and the press statement made back in January was made with the best of intentions.

“However, it is with regret we had to close the pub in Oughton Head Way due to the unsafe and extremely dilapidated condition in which it was left by our former licensee.

“In light of the pending legislation affecting pub companies, currently being debated in Parliament, Punch has had to revisit its investment plans across the country.

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“This means the Sir John Barleycorn is no longer a viable opportunity for Punch and so we have taken the decision to market the site for sale.

“We notified North Herts District Council of our intention to market the site and requested they notify the Oughton Green Community Group of our intentions.

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“The property is currently being marketed for sale on the open market.

“We will consider all viable offers and welcome interest from members of the community.”

A spokesman for North Herts District Council said: “The Sir John Barleycorn is listed on the council’s register of assets of community value.

“Under this process, we’ve been notified by the owners Punch Taverns that they wish to re-market this property, having previously withdrawn it from sale. “This means a new six week moratorium has been triggered, during which community groups interested in making a bid can register their interest. This will run until March 21.

“If any group does register an interest during this time then a full six-month moratorium will be triggered.”

A member of the Oughton Green Community Regulars, Rob Rees, said: “My initial reaction is one of disappointment.

“Anything which leads to the pub remaining closed and potentially being redeveloped is a big disappointment.

“I’m also slightly dubious why it has taken Punch so long to make this decision. Surely they would have known months ago how much work would be needed. To market the pub for these reasons is strange.”

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