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'Save endangered pub' say Chesham councillors
PLANS to demolish a popular Chesham pub came in for a scathing attack last night by councillors who vowed to help protect it.
The Nash Arms on Vale Road closed suddenly this month, with its owners Bramwood Taverns appealing against refused applications to both demolish it or turn it into flats.
But Chesham Town Council rushed to the pub’s defence, discussing using new localism laws to protect the threatened building on a protected ‘community assets’ register.
Development Control Committee Chairman Noel Brown said: “It is fair to say that the owners have defied planning and taken the situation into their own hands removing the good use that was there and making it impossible to use it as a pub.
“It is extremely unfortunate and we fully support CDC in these refusals.
“In light of what is happening at the Nash Arms we need to look at the buildings that are an important part of the community.
“There are implications if we do go ahead such as the funding but if we can get the community behind us then it might happen.”
Cllr Ruth Juett said the owners had “cocked a snook” at customers by making the decision to close the pub and strip it of its fixtures and fittings.
The move makes the building unusable as a pub or community building, giving developers grounds to appeal, against Chiltern District Council’s planning refusals.
The community assets register allows parish councils or community groups to be given time to raise a bid to buy a building if and when it comes up for sale.
However, there is no compulsion for the owner to sell and the scheme does not give the group first refusal.
Cllr Peter Hudson called the legislation “toothless”, urging caution so that any group making a bid is in a realistic position to pay for the building.
But former mayor Alison Pirouet called for something to be done, insisting a list of potential sites is drawn up as soon as possible.
The Development Control Committee agreed to compile a list of buildings for the asset register, which will be discussed at the next meeting on November 18.
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