Plans for pop-up bar on Harpenden Common to be considered despite town council refusal

PUBLISHED: 14:02 02 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:45 04 June 2020

Plans for a weekend pop-up bar at Harpenden Common are set to be considered on Thursday. Picture: HTC

Plans for a weekend pop-up bar at Harpenden Common are set to be considered on Thursday. Picture: HTC

Archant

Proposals for a “social distancing pop-up bar” on Harpenden Common are to be considered by councillors tomorrow, despite refusal to allow events on the land by the town council.

Harpenden Town Council, which owns the land, has vowed not to let the events go ahead – even if they were granted a licence by St Albans District Council.

According to the licensing application the ‘summer bar’ and takeaway could operate at weekends between June 26 and August 9.

Tables and chairs would be made available for customers – who could also choose to take their drinks away for their own picnics.

There would be background music “with a lovely summer vibe for Harpenden, lifting people’s spirits”, and the bar would be in line with “all strict guidelines of social distancing”, according to the application.

Plans for a weekend pop-up bar at Harpenden Common are set to be considered on Thursday. Picture: HTCPlans for a weekend pop-up bar at Harpenden Common are set to be considered on Thursday. Picture: HTC

A town council spokesperson said: “As the land owner we have not given approval for the events described in this application.

“The type of event that is described is against current government public health guidelines and is inappropriate at this time.

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“We have advised SADC that there is no permission from us as land owner, however they have confirmed that permission from the land owner is not a requirement of the Licensing Act.

“Regardless of the SADC decision on this application, the town council will not be allowing the events described to go ahead.

The general consensus of The Harpenden Society members was also against the plans.

One said: “Given the opposition from the police and town council I suspect this proposal is both too soon and inappropriate. I think that it sends the wrong message at a time when we are still at risk of a second spike of the virus.”

Herts police have also lodged an objection to the proposal, which they say is “in conflict” with an existing PSPO and goes against current coronavirus health guidelines.

The existing a PSPO in place for the area makes it an offence not to hand over alcohol, if asked to do so by a police officer or an accredited council officer.

Its objection also says it will put pressures on policing caused by sporadic social gatherings “at such a sensitive an critical time for public safety”.

Nevertheless, this evening the application for seven ‘temporary event notices’ for the events will be considered by a meeting of SADC’s licensing sub-committee tomorrow at 10.30am.


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