Pub at centre of drug scandal set to be turned into flats

PUBLISHED: 19:51 22 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:26 31 May 2010

The Queen Elizabeth Pub in Saffron Walden has been closed down after drugs raids.

The Queen Elizabeth Pub in Saffron Walden has been closed down after drugs raids.

A PUB that had its licence revoked when it became the centre of a drugs scandal looks set to be turned into flats. Planning permission to turn the Queen Elizabeth pub in Saffron Walden into six flats was approved by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) last

A PUB that had its licence revoked when it became the centre of a drugs scandal looks set to be turned into flats.

Planning permission to turn the Queen Elizabeth pub in Saffron Walden into six flats was approved by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) last Wednesday (April 16).

Principal planning officer Tony Morton said: "The building is in a conservation area so specific attention was given to the details of the application and it has been approved subject to conditions.

"There will be minimal external alterations to the building, so it will not lose its character."

The plans will see two single-storey extensions at the back of the property demolished. The existing flat will be retained and the remainder of the building will be turned into five apartments.

The development of the building will mean that there is no way back for the Queen Elizabeth as one of Saffron Walden's pubs. Mr Morton said: "In policy terms we would not block the loss of a pub in a town, whereas we would in a village if, for example, it was the only pub."

The council received an even split of responses that were for and against the development. Mr Morton said: "People were supportive of the developments in that the shell of the building will remain the same and there is good provision of parking.

"In opposition there was some concern about the loss of a town pub and a neighbour was concerned about the boundary of the development."

Saffron Walden Town Council did not object to the application.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, welcomed the decision to approve the application. He said: "I'm delighted. I've only just moved to the area, but had it still been a pub I wouldn't have done. It had a terrible reputation and I think flats will be a definite improvement."

The Queen Elizabeth's licence was revoked by the UDC licensing committee following a police raid on the pub on February 2, 2007.

At the hearing Essex Police Superintendent Tim Stokes said: "During 2006 we became aware of intelligence that suggested the Queen Elizabeth was a centre of drug dealing in Saffron Walden.

"We put undercover police officers into the pub who were sold class A drug cocaine on 17 separate occasions.

"Due to the overt nature with which these deals were taking place, we believed that the pub's staff were aware it was happening and it was therefore not appropriate to ask them to help with a voluntary closure.

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