Goat Inn, St Albans, back on menu for Mother's Day

PUBLISHED: 15:42 20 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

A PUB couple are hoping they can win back customers lost due to a planning row now they are able to put food back on the menu in time for Mother s Day. The 15th century Goat Inn in Sopwell Lane, St Albans, had to close its kitchen for three weeks followin

A PUB couple are hoping they can win back customers lost due to a planning row now they are able to put food back on the menu in time for Mother's Day.

The 15th century Goat Inn in Sopwell Lane, St Albans, had to close its kitchen for three weeks following the dispute.

The property, which is owned by Enterprise Inns, had fallen foul of the strict regulations surrounding Grade Two listed buildings in a Conservation Area.

Its kitchen floor was rotten and needed replacing and Enterprise Inns hired a team of builders to do the work which started more than three weeks ago.

But then fate stepped in when Andrew Robley, a member of the district council's conservation and design team, dropped into the pub for a drink and spotted a notice saying food was not available due to building work.

The next day he returned in his official capacity to take a look at the work and the builders were instructed to down tools.

Kate and Michael Axford took over the pub two years ago and have built up its reputation for food. They employ a chef and serve food seven days a week.

Michael Axford, 50, said: "We kept asking the council what to do to re-open the kitchen because we were losing so much trade. Only this week - after my wife demanded to see the head of planning - were we told we needed an archaeologist's report. We got one the same day and now the builders are back in and we will be open in time for Mother's Day trade. But if only they had told us that in the first place we would not have lost so much trade."

Although the brewery accepted responsibility for failing to comply with the building regulations and gain the appropriate permissions, the couple are unhappy with the compensation package they have been offered for loss of trade.

Kate said: "It's laughable. We have lost thousands through this, not to mention the loss of goodwill we have painstakingly built up over the previous two years.

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