Homes bid for empty Hitchin pub turned down by planners – but revised scheme on the cards

Plans to the turn the Sir John Barleycorn pub in Hitchin into flats has been given the thumbs down.

Plans to the turn the Sir John Barleycorn pub in Hitchin into flats has been given the thumbs down. - Credit: Archant

Plans to turn an empty Hitchin pub into homes have been given the thumbs down by planners.

But a revised scheme is likely to be drawn up for the conversion of the Sir John Barleycorn in Oughton Head Way, which closed its doors in the summer of 2014.

The building was put on the market more than a year ago by owners Punch Taverns.

A planning application lodged by a firm of architects in Hoddesdon, on behalf of an applicant named as UK Salads, was rejected by North Herts District Council due to concerns about the impact on people living nearby.

The building was previously marketed as pub – raising hopes that it might be brought back to use as a neighbourhood pub.

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But there were no takers for the site, ultimately prompting UK Salads’ application to build a first floor side extension and create two semi-detached three-bedroom homes and a four-bedroom home with space for parking.

Yet the blueprint has failed to convince planners, and a council spokesman said: “In reviewing the application, planning officers were concerned with matters relating to design, impact upon neighbouring residents, and parking and highway issues.

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“Discussions have taken place with the applicant concerning these issues, which led to the withdrawal of the planning application.

“It is expected the applicant will submit a new planning application in the future.”.

Malcolm Chapman, of pubs pressure group Camra North Herts, said: “I’m surprised at this decision to turn down a planning application for a change of use for the Sir John Barleycorn.

“But the fact remains it is still a pub with a lot of potential with the right owner as it is free of tie to a brewery.”

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