The Camp pub in St Albans to be turned into flats
Campaigners who fought to save a community pub from demolition have lost their battle after councillors voted in favour of redevelopment.
The Camp pub in Camp Road, St Albans, was shut unexpectedly last year after the owners, McMullen & Sons, sold the pub to Howarth Homes.
Local punters set up a petition to have the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), giving the community first refusal should Howarth Homes decide to sell the building.
But at a recent St Albans council planning committee meeting, councillors voted to approve Howarth Homes’s application to build 25 apartments with six votes for and three against.
Steve Bury, secretary of action group Save the Camp spoke at the meeting and said that the development could have a negative impact on the community, with increased pressure on local amenities.
He said that there were no other pubs easily accessible and the loss of the public house would be a loss of heritage.
But the committee followed planning officers’ recommendations that, “The loss of the The Camp Public House is not considered to result in significant and demonstrable harm when compared with the benefit of providing much needed housing within the district including the provision of affordable housing.”
The nine month campaign to save the pub resulted in 72 objections to the application, more than 700 signatures on the petition and 50 people protesting outside of the building in January.
Steve said: “Unfortunately the three minutes allocated did not give me enough time to explain our detailed case. The ACV status, objections, e-signatures and demonstrations were not enough to persuade the councillors that the Camp pub was more important than a faceless block of flats.”
He continued: “There was a silence when the chair asked people to come forward and vote, then one person raised their hand to vote, and then there was another silence. Really to me that was a real slap in the face.
“They were so off about it, there was no proper explanation.”