Hitchin pub taken off market

Molly Malones pub in Hitchin

Molly Malones pub in Hitchin - Credit: Archant

A community pub which has been under the threat of closure is no longer up for sale.

Green Man pub in Ickleford

Green Man pub in Ickleford - Credit: Archant

Molly Malones in Hitchin has been taken off the market and interest from a developer dropped with the granting of community asset status imminent.

Once finalised by North Herts District Council (NHDC), the status will mean the pub has to remain as a drinking establishment for the following five years.

Members of the community, who have been campaigning to save the pub, will also have up to six months to bid to buy the pub in Nightingale Road if it is put up for sale again by owners Greene King.

Landlady Julie Ambrose was told about the community asset status on Tuesday. The 52-year-old said: “I am very proud of the community for their passion in trying to save the pub. I am very happy here and pleased I will be staying. It is very good news and thanks to all of them for their hard work.”

Greene King was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

The news follows two planning applications to convert former pub The Green Man in Ickleford into homes and a retail space.

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The first application, which has been submitted to NHDC, is to convert the pub into four two-bedroom flats with 11 car parking spaces and a shop.

The second application for the same site is to build four, three -bedroom houses with 10 car parking spaces.

Residents and Ickleford Parish Council are currently being consulted on the plans and so far 18 objections have been made to the two applications.

The parish council has also written to residents in the village voicing its concerns over excessive development, access and limited parking linked to the plans.

One resident, who did not wish to be named but lives opposite the former pub in Arlesey Road, said: “I am not against the planning permission but I am against another shop in the village. It is not necessary in such a small place as Ickleford, having a shop less than 200 metres away is more than enough to meet the needs of the villagers.”

Another resident, Nicholas Brown, agreed and added: “I also think the parking issue spells danger, especially on a busy narrow road and with the children coming and going to the primary school up the road twice a day, it is also a hazard for me.”

The land is up for sale after brewery McMullen took the decision to close the pub last year.

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