Plans to revamp a Hatfield pub have been rejected

BREWERY bosses who have spent two years trying to turn part of a pub into a takeaway have finally admitted defeat.

Peter Furness-Smith, the managing director of McMullen, said he was throwing in the towel after a Government inspector threw out plans to revamp The Harrier in Hatfield.

The proposal, which would have seen part of the Bishops Rise pub and the adjoining Hilltop Hall, turned into a fish and chips takeaway, had been opposed by punters and nearby residents ever since it was first mooted in the summer of 2008.

Twice Welwyn Hatfield Council denied planning permission, saying the brewery had failed to demonstrate the public needed the facility.

McMullen lodged an appeal, which was thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate this week.

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Inspector Isobel McCretton, said: “I concur with the council’s views that the proposals, as they stand, would limit the usability of the hall and hence its vitality and visability.

“I conclude on balance that the appeal should be dismissed.”

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Mr Furness-Smith said he had no plans to submit a further planning application.

He added: “We are disappointed our plans to improve both the function room facility and add the Fish ‘n’ Chick’n offering to The Harrier have been rejected.”

But his sadness was not shared by residents, who had campaigned against the plan.

Debbie Thompson, who set up a Facebook group to fight the original plans, said: “I am really happy, it is great news.”

Mark Lampert was equally jubilant.

The 44-year-old said: “I am over the moon with the decision. Sense has been seen at long last.”

He added: “We [the residents] would be very willing to meet up with McMullen to discuss the ways we can move forward.”

Labour parliamentary candidate Mike Hobday said he was “very pleased” with the news.

“The Hilltop Hall is a really valuable community facility,” he said. “It is important it remains for social events and the people of Hatfield and hopefully McMullen will take a lesson from this.”

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps agreed.

He said: “I am delighted the application has been rejected. It is a great victory.”

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