Anger over Hatfield pub’s fast food bid

RESIDENTS who fought to save part of their much-loved community hall from being turned into a takeaway are “annoyed and bemused” an appeal has been lodged to push the plans through.

Proposals to build a Fish ‘n’ Chick’n outlet within The Harrier pub in Bishops Rise, Hatfield, were refused twice by Welwyn Hatfield Council, in October 2008 and July 2009.

But to the frustration of neighbours, councillors and MP Grant Shapps, brewery McMullen – whose application was turned down for failing to demonstrate the public needed the facility – has appealed the decision.

Debbie Thompson, who set up a Facebook group to fight the original plans, said of the latest move: “Does McMullen not realise by the opposition so far the residents and pub regulars do not want a Fish ‘n’ Chick’n shop taking over our community centre?

“When are they going to get the message?

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“There is no backing for this whatsoever.”

Frustrated resident, Mark Lampert, 44, agreed.

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He said: “I’m bemused and annoyed in equal measure.

“We don’t want and definitely don’t need another fast food joint in the area.”

He fumed: “If McMullen want to improve the somewhat tarnished reputation of The Harrier and turn the place into a viable concern they should consider re-opening the pub’s existing kitchen, employing a chef and start selling real home-cooked food, not more junk food.”

South Hatfield borough councillor Kieran Thorpe said: “This development is against the wishes of a vast number of people and is totally unsuitable to the area.”

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps also hopes the appeal will be refused.

He said: “The McMullen pub chain needs to wake up – we don’t want Hatfield to descend into one big fast food joint.

“Campaigning has led to two applications being refused and I hope we will see this appeal off as well.”

A borough council spokesman said the appeal is likely to be heard in March.

Comments on the application can be sent to the Planning Inspectorate by February 9.

Write to: 4\11 Eagle Wing Temple Quay House, Tudor Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN; email or call 0117 372 6372.

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