Brewery considers revamping Hatfield pub

THE redevelopment of a block shops could lead to a 50-year-old pub being revamped.

As reported in the Welwyn Hatfield Times last month, the Hilltop parade, on High View, Hatfield, is set to be transformed, to include new housing, shops and a medical centre.

However, council approval for the scheme has left McMullen’s, which owns The Harrier, in a quandary. For the brewery has to decide whether to redevelop the site to create a more compact pub with car parking, a beer garden and a residential element, or leave it how it currently stands.

Andrew Newbury, property director at Hertford-based McMullen’s, said: “It’s all in the early stages. Looking at the plans, they seem to be building around us.

“We will not want to keep the pub the same, having an old fashioned pub will look a bit out if place among a new parade of shops.

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“But, of course, it’s an expensive business building a new pub and it will have to be viable for us, so we have some thinking to do.”

The chosen plans were on display at public consultation events this week, as well as alternative designs the council turned down – two of which meant moving The Harrier.

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Mr Newbury, who has been at McMullen’s since 1988, added: “We’re happy where we are – on the road side.

“We wouldn’t want to be round the back, I can’t see why anyone would want to be.

“I think the [rejected] plans were unlikely to happen as it would’ve meant introducing compulsory purchasing and the council want to keep costs of the development down.

“If they said they did want to move us we would have to fight it.”

Ironically, the brewery has been trying for two years to turn part of the pub into a takeaway – admitting defeat only last month after a Government inspector threw out its appeal against the refusal of planning permission.

A council spokesman said following discussions with McMullen’s, it had included the pub as a final phase, to enable the brewery to redevelop or provide a new pub, should it wish.

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