It’s a Marathon not a Sprint!!
Forge Design Studio are delighted to confirm that May 2021 sees the conclusion of one of our longest running planning sagas.
Located in the rural village of Aston to the east of Stevenage, The Rose and Crown, and associated Barn, is a Listed Building which had been left vacant for over 12 months until our clients, purchased the site in 2016. Prior to this the pub had a chequered history having struggled in a really difficult trading environment with 11 different landlords in the previous 10 years.
We were appointed towards the end of 2016 to develop a design and planning strategy to utilise the site for housing whilst maintaining a fully functioning micro-pub. After a lengthy gestation period we submitted an application in July 2017 and proceeded to engage with the Local Authority Planning Officers culminating in an Officer Recommendation for Approval.
The project was taken to Planning Committee at East Herts District Council in March 2018 and was refused based on the strength of objections from local lobbyists.
It should be noted that the scheme is entirely Policy compliant and there is no argument about the principle of the re-use of the site. The chief protagonists set out an alternative vision which appeared to ignore the trading history and viability of the business bearing in mind there is another pub in the village.
There then followed a series of applications, refusals, withdrawals and appeals culminating in the final, mid-pandemic, application in July 2020. It was decided to omit the pub from the application on the basis that the market would find its true value and that the Local Community would sustain its re-birth!
So, after 5 years of effort we have permission for a modest new build scheme consisting of 4 residential units on a highly sustainable location on a vacant site in the centre of a village and a still vacant pub.
Given the uncertainties we all face in the aftermath of the Pandemic, if this timescale through the Planning process is the best that can be done, it’s going to be a long road to recovery.