Traditional Harpenden pub set for major refurbishment

The Old Cock Inn

The Old Cock Inn - Credit: Archant

There are hopes to provide 35 new jobs - and much needed accommodation - in Harpenden’s town centre with the refurbishment of a traditional 16th century pub.

Charles Wells wants to add single storey and first floor rear extensions to the Old Cock Inn, High Street, and has asked St Albans district council for approval to create 10 rooms.

The planning application includes other alterations and an extension to the roof.

Craig Mayes, director at Apostrophe Pubs, part of the firm’s managed house division, said: “Harpenden is a thriving town with so many businesses and tourists, and following the closure of two hotels nearby, local people are telling us they are crying out for accommodation.

“We’re really excited about the potential at the Old Cock Inn.”

The town council has raised no objection to the scheme, saying it “recognises and supports the need for bed and breakfast facilities within the Harpenden area”.

Cllr Michael Weaver has asked for the bid to be called in if planning officers at district council intend refusing it.

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He said the application “seems to comply in scale and character with the alterations and extensions proposed in the conservation area. It would also appear to satisfy a need for the provision of extra bed and breakfast accommodation within the centre of Harpenden.”

However district archaeologist, Simon West, has recommended refusal, because of a lack of information and non compliance with the National Planning Policy Framework.

He said there was “potential” for below ground archaeology as the building was “in the heart of the Saxon and medieval town [and proposed works] may have an impact on significant buried deposits”.

Simon said there had been no consultation with him with regard to the scheme, and that a heritage statement should be provided, setting out its potential effect on historic assets.

The scheme is still being considered, and a district council committee is expected to make a decision in early February.

A spokesman for Charles Wells said: “We hope to create 35 new kitchen, serving and housekeeping jobs. All being well we hope to open the new look Old Cock Inn in summer 2016.”