Campaigners call for public’s voice to be heard in pub planning decision
PUBLISHED: 08:25 14 January 2019
The chairman of a campaign group pushing to re-open the Railway Arms pub in Saffron Walden has marked the second anniversary of the venue’s closure by urging the public to make their views known at an upcoming planning hearing.
In October last year, owner of the pub, Charles Wells, submitted a planning application to reconfigure the site to allow space for houses in the beer garden to help fund the redevelopment of the pub.
Chairman of Save the Railway Arms Pub (STRAP) Dave Kenny said: “January 6, 2017, brought to a close a long period of decline in the fortunes of the Railway, a decline that many regarded as symptomatic of the owner’s desire to exploit the development potential of the pub and its plot.
“Two years on, Uttlesford District Council (UDC) planning committee is being asked to consider a planning application that represents the latest twist in this long running saga.
“It is important that we remember that, whilst on the face of it, it may be seen as a welcome application to refurbish and re-open the Railway Arms, it is very much an application to isolate the pub from its Asset of Community Value-registered and local heritage listed gardens and outbuildings.”
Mr Kenny pointed out that the historic environment service at Essex County Council had objected to the development on the grounds that the plans “will cause considerable harm to a non-designated heritage asset” and more than 50 comments on the planning application highlight concerns about loss of community value, green open space and parking.
“There is still time to make written submissions to the planning committee and to have your voice heard,” Mr Kenny said. “We’ll be working hard to give the Railway Arms the best possible chance to survive as it has for more than 150 years and to, once again, take its place at the heart of it’s community.”
A spokesman for Charles Wells said: “We have no plans to undermine the integrity of the building and the investment that the two properties provide will create a vibrant venue for the community once again.”
No date has been confirmed for the application to go before the UDC planning committee.