‘We’re over the moon’ – Campaigners celebrate as plans for former pub on Hitchin outskirts are rejected

Campaigners from the Save The Windmill pub group.

Campaigners from the Save The Windmill pub group. - Credit: Archant

The long-running fight to save a popular pub near Hitchin has taken yet another twist after a planning application was rejected – leaving campaigners jubilant.

North Herts District Council turned down an application on the former Windmill pub in Charlton during its planning control committee last night.

The quest to save the riverside pub saw a boost for campaigners after their lobbying of the council resulted in the owner’s request for a single storey side extension and patio doors – along with a re-siting of a storage shed – being thrown out on the grounds of design and appearance.

Phil Jarvis, who lives in Charlton and is part of the Save The Windmill group, told the Comet: “We are jubilant at the verdict. We are over the moon.

“It may be a small battle won in the midst of a long-running war, but this sends a clear message to the owner that The Windmill should stand as a pub not as a house.”

The former pub in Charlton has attracted a swell of support to save it from being converted into houses after closing its doors in June as a result of brewery group Charles Wells selling 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.

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Supporters also asked the council to include in its draft Local Plan a special clause protecting the ‘last community facility’ – to make sure that a community pub such as The Windmill could not be sold to a private individual who planned a change of use – with discussions still ongoing.

Mr Jarvis – who spoke against the application at the council meeting – added: “We want to work with the owner and discuss our business plan with him.

“The community of Hitchin and Charlton clearly love The Windmill and want to see it back up and running as a pub.”