Save Windmill group lobbies for ‘community facility’ status in North Herts Local Plan

Villagers and supporters outside the former Windmill pub are making an appeal to NHDC to have a clau

Villagers and supporters outside the former Windmill pub are making an appeal to NHDC to have a clause in the forthcoming local plan to prevent 'the last remaining community facility in any village' from being closed or having its use changed - Credit: Archant

The campaign to save a riverside pub has taken a new twist with supporters lobbying North Herts District Council to include a clause protecting community facilities in the Local Plan blueprint for development in the area.

The former Windmill pub in Charlton has attracted a swell of support to save it from being converted into houses after closing its doors in June last year – brewery group Charles Wells had sold the building to a private buyer.

The new owner later withdrew a retrospective planning application when more than 2,000 objections were lodged – and is now looking for a tenant prepared to take on the pub and start pulling pints again.

Now supporters want North Herts District Council to include in its draft Local Plan a special clause protecting the ‘last community facility’ – to make sure that a much-used community pub such as The Windmill could not be sold to a private individual who planned a change of use.

Phil Jarvis of the Save The Windmill group said: “Our campaign will be stepping up a gear as we turn our attention to the North Herts District Council’s draft Local Plan and providing protection for the ‘last community facility’ – which is what the Windmill was.

“We’ll be visiting ‘locals at their local’ in every village in North Herts in the coming weeks, encouraging them to write to the council and lobby their councillors in support of this provision.

“We’d like to do this over a weekend village pub crawl, and are looking for a ‘vintage’ coach to borrow!

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“Many authorities have included a similar clause in their draft Local Plans.

“And in April last year Westminster council in London forced a property developer to rebuild a pub brick-by-brick after it was torn down without planning permission being granted.”