‘Save our pub’ – Knebworth campaigners step up fight to protect The Station
Campaigners are stepping up their fight to protect The Station pub in Knebworth after plans were submitted to North Herts District Council which would see flats built all around it.
Village campaign group SOSPUB said the move would be unacceptable as the occupiers of the new homes would have the right to complain about noise from the pub – and this would threaten its viability.
The group has worked to save the pub as a community space ever since it closed down on February 9 and was sold by the Greene King brewery to developer Market Homes, based in Borehamwood.
The developer has so far said it plans to keep a pub and restaurant alongside the flats but campaigners fear this may not happen in reality.
SOSPUB has its own business plan for a viable community pub and garden, to run as a community co-operative, but members say they would need the existing pub and the garden space where the flats are to be built to make this viable.
The group has also conducted a survey through the Plunkett Foundation – which helps communities in rural areas – and this found the majority of people in the village want to keep the pub.
Lisa Nash, from SOSPUB, said: “The results of the Plunkett Foundation survey provided strong evidence that the village wishes to retain the pub and social outside space as a community facility.
“The Station pub has a great history as a local entertainment venue which as a community group we would like to revitalise.
“We believe that the submitted plans would significantly stifle the activities that any pub would be able to undertake.
“As the Plunkett Foundation tells us, pubs provide one of the increasingly few places of social interaction for all, particularly important for those at risk of social isolation.
“The SOSPUB action group is committed to saving the pub and outside space for the benefit of all of the community.”
Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland has met with the campaigners and pledged his support.
He said: “I am delighted to support the local community campaign ‘Save our Station Pub’.
“They are an energetic group determined to make the pub the centre of the village community once again with a range of facilities.
“Losing the wonderful garden area to flats would be a disaster as, while it is important we have more homes, we need community facilities for people in those homes to enjoy.”
SOSPUB wants to get as many people as possible to comment on the planning application on the district council’s website before the consultation closes on August 10.
The planning application number is 17/01622/1 and you can comment on it at www.north-herts.gov.uk.