Hitchin community urged to make objections known on NHDC website to stop Windmill being turned into ‘dwellings’

Ian 'Tank' Brian with his pigs

Ian 'Tank' Brian with his pigs - Credit: Archant

The closure of a popular pub has not only left a village without a focal point – it’s also triggered a big drop in the number of walkers in and around the area, and even nearby pigs have noticed!

Ian 'Tank' Brian with his pigs

Ian 'Tank' Brian with his pigs - Credit: Archant

The Windmill in Charlton pulled its last pint in June, and controversial work on converting it into a home began before a planning application was received by North Herts District Council.

The submission now before planners applies for a change of use and the retention of a front porch, built over the summer.

The application was submitted by agent Rebecca Maclan from GB Structures, Clifton, on behalf of a Hitchin man.

John Pearce, who lived in the village for 18 years and is working on a book on Charlton, said: “Petitions are all very well, but anyone who cares about this pub has to log onto the North Herts District Council website, and register their objections to this plan.

“It’s not too late to save this community pub.

“The situation can still be turned around if enough people who used to enjoy walking to the pub make their opposition known to the planning application online. It’s vitally important people do.”

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In the meantime, popular pigs who live yards from the former pub are also pining for the missing walkers.

Ian ‘Tank’ Brian, 54, from Hitchin, who feeds up to 60 pigs every morning, including the sociable Duroc and Mangalica breeds, said: “I’ve noticed a substantial drop in the numbers of people walking in the area.

“I’m 54, and I had my first drink in the pub as a teenager.

“I used to visit for a chat and a pint most nights, as it was the heartbeat of the village.

“It’s a pub close to my heart. It’s also a pub close to the pigs’ hearts too.

“Pigs are such sociable animals, and they’re genuinely missing the attention from walkers, and all their kids who used to stop and say hello, and feed them on their way to the Windmill.

“We used to see seven or eight bags of apples left at the gate daily, so the pigs and 30 piglets are also sad the Windmill is closed – they’re missing the treats walkers gave them.”

Phil Jarvis from the Save The Windmill Group added: “Anecdotal evidence suggests a drop of 50 to 75 per cent in walkers since the pub closed its doors.

“Please register objections to planning application 15/01945/1 online at the district council’s website.”

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