The Station Pub
Station Pub News 12 September 2019
Following an overwhelming show of support from residents in June this year, Knebworth Parish Council has been working on a bid to purchase The Station Public House.
We are pleased to announce that we now have an offer agreed with the owner and are working to complete a transaction in the near future. We hope that this will result in providing a more secure future for what we believe is a valuable asset at the heart of our local community.
As outlined in our survey leaflet, we are also working to secure a tenant landlord in line with our business plan and aiming to have the pub re-opened as soon as possible. Therefore if you are aware of any small businesses or individuals, with relevant experience within the industry, interested in operating a pub on a commercial basis then please ask them to contact Claire Graham the clerk of the council at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
We would like to thank everyone for their support, in particular the SOSPUB group, who have been fundamental in generating support in the village for saving the pub as well as raising funds to fight the prior planning application.
VILLAGE SURVEY : STATION PUB
The Station public house is a prominent historic landmark in the centre of Knebworth. It closed in February 2017 and has been split into two sites. Planning consent has been granted to convert the garden area into apartments, with the building remaining as a pub.
The Parish Council believes that having a working public house at The Station is an asset to our local community. Knebworth is a large village and is ear-marked for growth. A pub on this site provides more opportunity for our community to gather, socialise and entertain.
THE STATION PUB IS UP FOR SALE
THE PARISH COUNCIL WANTS TO TRY TO BUY IT
The Council would like to know residents' views on the question
Should Knebworth Parish Council borrow funds to purchase the Station Pub as a Public House and Village Asset?
Why are we doing this now?
The current owner has put the pub building up for sale. We are currently in the middle of a six-month moratorium period where only community groups can attempt to purchase it and preserve it for the community. This includes the SOSPUB campaign and Parish Council.
We hope that this newsletter and survey helps you understand the situation and what we are looking to achieve. We need support from the Parish community to make a bid to secure its future.
What have we done already?
The Parish Council have set up a working party to consider the viability of making a bid. We have prepared a business plan and received some interest from potential tenants already.
Our initial plans indicate that this is a viable small business proposition, despite the loss of the garden. However this would not be viable for a large pub chain to be successful, as history has demonstrated.
What happens next?
Central government makes funds available to Parish Councils for capital projects. We can apply for a low interest long-term loan of up to £500,000 repayable over many years. Permission is granted if central government are satisfied, based on a business plan, that the loan has a community purpose, support, and will be repaid.
If we succeed in obtaining funding, we propose to attempt to buy The Station pub premises and retain it as an asset for the community
The current owner cannot be forced to sell it to any community group, but we can try. If we are successful, we would then lease the premises to a commercial pub operator as a freehold pub offer.
How much will all this cost us?
The Parish Council seeks to borrow the money to buy the pub and will also cover some initial renovation costs. The annual rent will pay off the loan. Therefore, loan repayments would not depend on Parish Council revenues. Residents should not expect a precept rate increase in their council tax, and there is no plan to do so. In the unlikely event that we cannot find any tenant or sell the pub there is a future risk that the precept would have to increase to cover costs. For context, however, the entire Parish Council precept is only 4% of total Council Tax bills (£74.71 precept for 2019-20 on a Band D property). Should the Council have to repay £500,000 over 35 years via the precept only, it could increase the precept by 15% (£11.53 a year on a Band D property).
We cannot say exactly how much we are willing to spend as we plan to negotiate with the owner. The pub is on the market for £595,000, but we believe that its value as a business is less than this.
The Parish Council and SOSPUB group are working together
The Parish Council and SOSPUB group have been working together to try and save The Station since its closure. We sought to protect it originally by listing it as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and have representation in the SOSPUB group.
We have agreed that the best way forward is for both parties to develop complementary proposals and attempt to make separate bids.
SOSPUB group would seek to run it as a 'non -profit' community pub. The Parish Council would buy it and let it to a commercial operator. This is a different proposition to the SOSPUB proposal, but we are looking to explore all possible avenues.
We believe that both the Parish Council and SOSPUB need to make efforts to create viable proposals now and attempt to buy it. Having more viable offers made may lower the risk of the pub being redeveloped into accommodation in the future.
Complete the survey online or by printing the form and returning it to one of the post boxes at the Village Hall, Village News, Village Stores (Stockens Green) or Lucas May Florist.
The newsletter, including the survey, will be delivered to households between 16-19 May 2019. The survey will end on Friday 7 June 2019.
News 29 April 2019
The Station, Public House constructed in 1883 is a prominent landmark in the centre of Knebworth. This establishment closed in February 2017 and became subject to a planning application to split the site in two, converting the garden area into residential properties.
The Parish Council believes that having a public house at The Station in the village centre is an asset to our local community. We have therefore been working with the independent SOSPUB campaign group to fight the planning application. However, on appeal the current owner won permission to split the site.
The former garden now has planning permission to build flats on it, however the original pub building is being offered for sale. We are currently in the middle of a six-month moratorium period where only qualifying community groups can purchase it, including the SOSPUB campaign and the Parish Council.
The Parish Council is therefore seeking to make a bid to buy the pub and proposes to lease it out to a local commercial operator. This is a different type of arrangement to that being considered by the SOSPUB group for a community operated pub. The Parish Council feels that its action could help protect the future of the pub from being redeveloped and provides an alternative option in the event that the SOSPUB group fail in their ambitions. However, none of these plans are guaranteed to succeed and the owner may sell it to whomever they want, or retain it, after the moratorium period.
If you want to hear more about this please come to the Parish Meeting on Wednesday 1st May at 8pm in the Village Hall as we would love to hear your views!
Station Pub Plans
Revised site plan
Revised block of flats
Revised existing pub plans and cross sections
Revised landscape and visibility splay for access to flats
Revised 3 D Images
Station Pub site notice
Station Pub location plan
Station Pub Topography
Station Pub refuse collection proposals
Station Pub proposal for outbuilding
one bed detached dwelling
Station Pub proposed plan for pub building including 4 1 bed flats
Station Pub proposed block of 9 2 bed flats
Station Pub proposed elevations
Station Pub location plan
Station Pub Initial Biodiversity report
Station Pub existing plans
Station Pub Existing plans and elevations
Station Pub Planning application design and access statement
Station Pub Planning Application Form
3D images of proposed development of the station pub site