No go for latest bid to build supermarket in beer garden of Grade II listed pub in Chiswell Green

The Three Hammers pub

The Three Hammers pub - Credit: Archant

A new bid to build a Sainsbury’s convenience store alongside a Grade II listed pub has failed to win over district councillors.

On Monday night, St Albans planning south committee indicated they would have refused the revised application from the supermarket giant to build the store in the garden of the Three Hammers pub in Watford Road, Chiswell Green, had they made a decision on it within the statutory eight-week period.

A decision was taken by the applicants to go to appeal in late December shortly after the statutory period ended - the second time they have done so.

But in light of the ruling on the first appeal by the Planning Inspectorate, councillors had to limit the grounds for refusal to the impact of the close proximity of the store car park to adjoining residential properties.

The new application differed from the previous one by reducing the footprint of the store slightly, making improvements to the shared boundary with 216 Watford Road and the introduction of acoustic measures to reduce noise.

But it still attracted 90 objections voicing concerns ranging from significant noise and disturbance to insufficient car parking and loss of green space. In addition a petition with 171 signatures opposing the scheme was received by the council.

St Stephen parish council, which described the store as out of keeping with an historic pub and warned of the impact of noise and disturbance on surrounding residents, argued that there was no proof that the proposed noise mitigation measures would be effective.

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At the planning appeal last year which was into non-determination of the first application within the statutory period, the inspector dismissed the proposal but raised no objection to the principle of a store being built on the site or that its siting, scale and design would harm the setting of the Three Hammers.

That left councillors with just the one reason for refusing it this time.

After the meeting, committee vice chairman Cllr Sue Featherstone said that the committee had to listen to the views of the residents if localism was to be taken seriously. She went on: “It is one of the most objected to applications of that size that I have experience of since being on planning.

“We need to listen to people’s views on major schemes like this which is not wanted by anyone.”