Enforcement notice appeal launched by St Albans pub

The Spotted Bull's new extension can be seen under construction from Verulam Road

The Spotted Bull's new extension can be seen under construction from Verulam Road - Credit: Archant

The owner of a pub who built two “monstrous” extensions in the conservation area despite having no approval has appealed against a council enforcement notice to remove the additions.

James Hanning bought the run-down Spotted Bull in Verulam Road, St Albans, in July last year.

But he angered local residents after building unapproved extensions to the side and rear, as he planned to reopen the pub as quickly as possible.

As a result, St Albans district council issued an enforcement notice on April 17 for a breach of planning control.

The council asked Mr Hanning to remove both the single storey side and rear extensions, as the additions’ “footprint, size and massing are disproportionate to the scale of the original building”.

It added: “These unauthorised additions result in a significant and cramped overdevelopment of this plot to the detriment of both the locally listed building and the surrounding conservation area.”

The authority labelled the unauthorised side extension as “prominent in the street scene” and contrary to a planning policy.

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Mr Hanning has appealed to the planning inspectorate against the notice on the grounds that “planning permission should be granted for the development of which the council complain”.

He told the inspectorate that steps required to comply with the notice were “excessive” and the time given to do so was too short.

Mr Hanning added that the council had objected to the extensions “on visual grounds only” and that the rear addition was “hardly visible” from the road.

Furthermore, loss of any floor space “will have a detrimental impact on this business and may result in the Spotted Bull having to close permanently, whereas it is currently in the process of being brought back into use from its recent dilapidated condition.”

Mr Hanning said the pub’s two extensions provided space for a “necessary bottle store” and a “specialised seminar and presentation space in support of local businesses”.

People have objected to the additions, with a representative of several residents’ associations writing to the Herts Advertiser about locals’ “extreme unhappiness at the way in which incremental development of this site has been carried out”.

He said it was “at odds with [the pub’s location] in a quiet residential environment” .

Residents are also annoyed at what they described as “monstrous” extensions resulting in the council having to take “expensive legal and enforcement action”.

The inspectorate is considering Mr Hanning’s appeal.