Campaigners go all out at public inquiry in bid to save Knebworth pub

The Station pub, Knebworth

The Station pub, Knebworth - Credit: Archant

Campaigners fighting to preserve the future of a village pub say they have done all they can at a planning inquiry to convince the Planning Inspectorate to uphold a decision to refuse planning permission for homes to be built on the site.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland with SOSPUB campaigners Lisa Nash and Anthony Titmarsh

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland with SOSPUB campaigners Lisa Nash and Anthony Titmarsh - Credit: Archant

Developer Market Homes wants to erect a three-storey building to provide nine two-bed flats, and convert an existing store into a one-bed house, in the pub garden of The Station in Knebworth’s Station Approach.

The plans include reopening the pub, which has been closed since February last year, but people are concerned the close proximity of the proposed development would make this unviable.

North Herts District Council’s Planning Control Committee refused the application back in May on grounds which included poor design and layout, a lack of parking and no financial contribution towards infrastructure such as schools.

But the developer appealed and the Planning Inspectorate decided to hold a four-day public inquiry, which was held at North Herts District Council’s offices in Letchworth and concluded on Friday.

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The Save Our Station Pub Action Group wants to establish a community pub and has spent almost two years running events such as quizzes and village fetes to raise money to fight against the proposed development.

The group was able to hire a legal team to represent them at the public inquiry.

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Campaigner Lisa Nash was at the public inquiry and said: “I think we presented as strong a case as we could - we had worked really hard on it - and the appellant was discredited on quite a few points.

“It has gone as well as it could have, with representations from the likes of Henry Lytton-Cobbold and Knebworth Twinning Association.”

She added: “SOSPub is committed to running a true community pub - a meeting place and social focus for the village, a place where lonely people can feel part of the community, a free library and a place to get health information.”

The Planning Inspectorate’s decision will be announced by January 31.

This paper has contacted Market Homes for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

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