Windmill campaigners in full sail to save popular pub near Hitchin through community action
- Credit: Archant
Campaigners battling to revive a popular waterside pub on the outskirts of Hitchin have taken heart from more than 400 objections posted against plans which will bring an end to its days as a community hub – and are hoping to rally even more supporters to the cause with a postcard push this weekend.
The Windmill in Charlton closed its doors in June after successive tenants struggled to make a go of the business.
After brewery group Charles Wells sold the building, North Herts District Council received a request for retrospective planning permission for building work which is already under way.
This week the number of objections to the application lodged with planneers stood at 428.
But with campaigners launching a specially-designed postcard for people to detail their complaints to the council, that number is set to rise still further.
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Save The Windmill group member Phil Jarvis, who lives in the village, said: “We’ve produced 1,000 postcards so people can write their objections on and send to the council.
“The community response has been heartening. The fact there’s already more than 400 objections to this application shows the strength of feeling.
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“We hope to top four figures in terms of objections and we’d encourage anyone who cares about The Windmill and wants to see it return as a pub to fill in the postcard with your complaints and send it to the council.
“We’ve a stall in Market Place on Saturday from 9am to 4.30pm if people want to come along and find out more about the campaign and show their support.
“We’ve also commissioned an independent viability report from experts detailing how the pub can be run as a profitable freehold business.
“Discussions are ongoing with various parties who are interested – but the main thing now is for as many people as possible to object to the planning application through our postcards.”
There have been two comments in favour of the plans, but the massive opposition contrasts with just seven objections to a similar scheme for the derelict Sailor Boy pub in the Walsworth area of Hitchin.
Documents lodged in support of the plan claim The Windmill was only used by locals ‘at odd occasions to have village meetings’.
But Mr Jarvis said: “This is a historic and much-loved pub used by many people.”
It was popular with villagers and people from Hitchin, as well as walkers, he said.
A council spokesman said: “The decision will be made by the local planning authority by the end of November. Hard copy petitions or other representations will still be accepted until then.
“Afterwards, the planning authority would consider if it was expedient to take enforcement action against any unauthorised use of the premises.”