Brewery explains why it called time on historic St Albans pub
PUBLISHED: 13:30 19 January 2016
The brewery which ran an historic St Albans pub now earmarked for conversion into a house has explained why it decided it was no longer viable.
The Blue Anchor in Fishpool Street closed in spring 2014 and has stood empty ever since.
The 17th century Grade II listed building is now the subject of a planning application to change its use to a four-bedroomed house.
Peter Furness-Smith, managing director of Herts-based McMullen & Sons, said that the Blue Anchor was closed in 2014 following attempts by three entrepreneurs to make a success of it over a four-year period. Prior to that period, it had been a managed pub.
He explained that in the last 15 years or so, the amount of beer being sold in pubs had nearly halved and the Blue Anchor had not been exempt from that ‘material change in pub visiting behaviour’.
McMullen’s felt the only chance of success for the Blue Anchor would have been if there had been a massive investment in a commercial kitchen and significantly more space made available for customers, particularly diners.
But even if the brewery had succeeded in getting planning permission to extend a listed building, which would probably have come with expensive conditions, it would not have been economic because the pub was very small.
The application from Osprey Developments has been ‘called in’ to a planning committee for a decision.