'We must act now' - villagers in renewed fight to save pub

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Save Our White Horse campaign protests against a second application to turn Kimpton pub into a residential and office building - Credit: Juliet Morton

Kimpton campaigners are rekindling their fight to save The White Hose pub in light of a new planning application. 

The pub, which is a Grade-II listed building, closed in 2015 when the brewery sold the premises to a developer.

However, the Save Our White Horse community group successfully prevented change of use to residential, and the pub was listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by North Herts District Council.

Two years later the pub was back on the market and the community raised enough funds to buy it, but were outbid by the present owner.

Now a planning application has been submitted for change of use of the building to residential.

The agent for the developer, Michael Collins Architect LLP, plans to convert the pub into a a single residential dwelling, offices, associated lobby, and micropub.

The Save Our White Horse group says it has made several attempts to secure a deal with the present owner, and the Asset of Community Value (ACV) was renewed last August for another five years to protect it.

A spokesperson for the group said: "With more houses being built in the village it is even more important to make sure that the pub is not lost for good. 

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"The plans show a suggested token Micropub, and the community fear that this attempt to downsize the once successful and treasured amenity will inevitably cause it to be unviable.

"Residents will not give up their fight to buy it back for the community through community owned shares and make it a successful venue serving real ale and good food for both residents and visitors."

MP Bim Afolami backed campaigners. He said: “Once we lose these things that hold the community together, they are gone forever.

"Pubs are so often at the heart of our communities and play a key part in keeping our villages vibrant. That’s why I'm so passionate about supporting residents and will continue to liaise with the group and the local council to find a route that will return the pub to its former glory.”

If you would like to help save The White Horse, email campaign@saveourwhitehorse.co.uk, or go to the website www.saveourwhitehorse.co.uk.

For more on the planning application, search 21/01018/FP at north-herts.gov.uk/home/planning.

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