Welwyn Garden City pub to be re-built after blaze

WHEN The Chieftain pub was gutted by fire on a cold Friday night in February 2008, many of its locals thought they would never be able to enjoy a pint in their favourite boozer again.

Just over two years later, after much debate and difficulties with planning applications, the WHT can reveal the pub is set to rise from the ashes.

Andrew Newbury, property director at McMullens, the Hertford-based brewery which ran the pub and still owns the site in Cole Green Lane, WGC, said work should be completed by Christmas, with an added residential development to follow.

“We started work on Monday, May 10,” he said.

“We’re anxious for a new pub to be up and trading as soon as possible.

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“It will be different to how it was before though. The former pub was a large building, this will be smaller and more compact, probably a similar size to the North Star, at Oaklands.

“It will look traditional but we’re trying to make it slightly different. Food will be important. It’s going to be a bit more upmarket than before, but obviously we want to attract lots of people from the area.”

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Mr Newbury, who has been at McMullens since 1988, added: “Times have moved on a bit.”

Fire officers originally concluded the cause of the 2008 fire was deliberate.

It has since been changed to one of ‘doubtful origin’.

The Chieftain (once called The Woodman) had already been closed down by the brewery.

A council spokesman said: ‘Planning permission was granted in January this year for the erection of 12 houses and replacement public house.”

A period of public consultation on the pub’s licence application runs until May 28.

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