This campaign is a genuine one. We promote our aims and publicise our views so the community can be kept up to date on the future of an important local building. People look to this website and Twitter for information so we have no problem that our site stats have seen a spike in the last few days, as the Appellant’s team ferret around looking for information with which to beat us with.
That genuine aim to do the best for the pub continued into Day 3 of the Public Inquiry, which opened with Cllr Tom Miller providing a pragmatic and balanced view of The Queensbury. It’s a treasured pub, people talk to him about it when he canvasses locally, overwhelmingly opposing the plans proposed, both last time and this. Then he opened the door to suggest planning is an iterative process.
Cllr Miller entered the dance with the Redbourne QC of which do you prefer, scheme A, B or the Appeal? It’s a beautiful ballad where we talk about the finer points of fenestration, alchemy of aspects and glory of gables. All of which is lovely but the core role of these proceedings is to assess the plan in front of us, not a hybrid combination of the three. This isn’t a beauty pageant or multiple choice; all three have been Refused and all three, separately, will be subject to scrutiny of Appeal.
STQ cross examined Redbourne’s final witness because he claimed there was social value in the plans. When pressed he couldn’t quantify this and tbh could not give evidence that anybody locally likes the plan. Oh and there is a kitchen, it’s just no labelled as one.
Then a “what if” session when we played a game of Spot The Trojan Horse
A developer will commit to a pub but the longer term aim is conversion to commercial or retail which is less hassle and generates more revenue for the apartments.
Imagine noise complaints to the Council from residents in the new flats, thereby limiting music and sound in the pub, or restrictions to the outside space in the summer evenings to avoid upsetting the folk upstairs. All leading to a non viable business. Then, a conversion to flats, retail or offices follows.
We were not being awkward today but in the game of Spot The Trojan it became apparent that the outside space of the pub would close at 9pm during the week. The proposed opening time is 11.30am, rendering Busy Rascals redundant. That beautiful and massive outside space at the front that Redbourne have been waxing lyrical about all week? That’ll have to make space for eight bicycle racks. Who could use the community space, when, how and what happens while building work takes place….. all kicked into the long grass with promises of future agreements. We asked several times, what the role of the public is in ensuring those agreements come to fruition and were left a little empty. Just like the Trojan Horse once it’s entered Troy.
Had we not been there today the future of The Queensbury as a viable pub would be in serious doubt. Shorter hours, smaller drinks terrace, open house on complaints from the neighbours…. we don’t intend to be deliberately awkward and none trustworthy but you can see out point, can’t you?