New St Albans pub granted approval for ‘unauthorised’ extension

The Brickyard Pub in St Albans

The Brickyard Pub in St Albans - Credit: Archant

A very Happy New Year beckons for city centre bar owner James Hanning after he cleared the final hurdle in his bid to revive the fortunes of a local pub.

A planning inspector has ruled in his favour in his appeal against an enforcement notice issued by St Albans council requiring him to remove a single storey side extension and additional rear extension at The Brickyard in Verulam Road, St Albans - both of which were built without planning permission.

And although the decision has been greeted with delight by James, he admitted this week that he had made a mistake in not waiting for planning permission and urged others not to look on the situation at The Brickyard as a precedent.

He said: “What I should have done is wait until the paperwork was in place. I misread it but fortunately we have an excellent Chamber of Commerce here and they have been unbelievable, very, very supportive and have come forward to give advice and direct assistance.”

James fell foul of council planners when he built the extensions without permission because they were felt to be disproportionate to the building - formerly The Spotted Bull - and an overdevelopment.

But planning inspector Andrew Hammond pointed out that there was ‘considerable disagreement between the parties’ as to what constituted the original building.

He felt that although the footprint of the commercial space within the pub had increased, there was still open space to the front of the side extension and to the rear in the form of patio areas.

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Mr Hammond ruled that the extensions preserved the character and appearance of the conservation area and the host building and were not disproportionate or constituted overdevelopment.

He touched on concerns raised by local residents about noise and disturbance but did not accept there would be any significant increase.

James said this week that he was ‘struggling to get his head around’ clearing the final hurdle and could now get on with making new appointments such as a manager for The Brickyard which has an over-25s admission policy.

He maintained that he had spent a lot of time with the planners when he had put in the application and had adapted the design to fit with local policies - but he had still made a mistake in proceeding without permission.

He added: “What is really good is we are now seeing some residents coming in as customers and they can see that it is not a karaoke bar.”