Refurbishment plans unveiled for The Harpenden Arms pub

The Harpenden Arms

The Harpenden Arms - Credit: Archant

Scaffolding can be seen encasing a prominent historic Harpenden pub as it undergoes a dramatic transformation to give it a new lease of life, but objections have recently been raised about planned alterations.

The Harpenden Arms, High Street, has been closed by pub company Fuller, Smith & Turner to allow upgrading of the former Railway Hotel, which opened in 1871 and was renamed in the 1960s.

Fuller’s has asked the district council for approval to build a rear conservatory and make alterations inside, including the creation of a new function space, toilets and kitchen on the first floor, roof alterations and the installation of several new dormer windows.

However, a neighbouring family who live in Station Road, and run the newsagents shop, has “strongly opposed” the scheme as the proposed function room windows will face their living room and children’s windows, and “be a hindrance to privacy”.

The family also fears a “high level of noise generated by the function room, which will be a nuisance to us”.

Another neighbour, from Southdown Road, has raised privacy concerns about the rear conservatory, and has asked for obscure glass to be used.

A spokeswoman for Fuller’s told the Herts Advertiser that while the firm awaits a decision on the scheme, initial refurbishment work, which does not require planning approval, is already being carried out.

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She declined to say how much was being spent on the works, describing it as a “substantial amount”.

Fuller’s describes The Harpenden Arms as a “charming pub in one of Harpenden’s most coveted locations”.

The firm says the renovation will see a large investment into the infrastructure of the site.

Although not yet approved by the council, Fuller’s says the refurb includes a new function room on the first floor for business meetings and parties, while the kitchen will be ‘transformed’, with customers to be offered food from local suppliers.

Fuller’s head of operations (quality division) Jane Bravey, said: “It is in a fantastic location and it was time to update and improve our already great customer experience.

“This renovation marks a new chapter in the pub’s history, and will involve significant enhancements to its offering.

“The new kitchen will mean a brand new menu and a change in our chef team. I would like to thank all of the team in the [previous] Thai kitchen for years of dedication and commitment to the pub.”

While no date is available as yet for completion of The Harpenden Arms’ refurbishment, it is understood that the pub could be re-opening in spring.

A decision is likely to be made by council planning officers under delegated authority.