SPPC Newsletter - June 2019

The Cock Public House
Following the example of successful community-owned pubs, the Parish Council has applied for a government loan to enable SPPC to buy the freehold of the Cock Inn at market value, to complete the necessary building work, to lease the pub to a tenant and to open for trade. A robust business plan and evidence of public consultation was submitted by SPPC to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in December 2018. The documents relating to the loan application are available on the SPPC website. SPPC has recently been notified that the borrowing application has been approved.

Following the successful nomination of the Cock Inn as an Asset of Community Value, the site was once again up for sale, with SPPC entitled to first refusal within a six-month moratorium. On 3rd January 2019 SPPC made an offer of £140,000 to purchase the freehold.

A formal appeal by the owner of the site against East Herts Council regarding the decision to list the Cock Inn as an ACV was the subject of a Hearing of the First Tier Tribunal of the General Regulatory Council on 8th February 2019, with EHC as first respondents and SPPC as second respondents. The Save the Pub Action Group secured donations from several village residents, to enable SPPC to engage the services of a barrister to present the case for SPPC at court in Hertford.

On 15th February 2019, SPPC was notified that the judge had dismissed the appeal on the basis that there is strong evidence of community involvement and commitment to re-opening the Cock Inn and that future use as a public house is a genuine possibility. He was satisfied that there are two realistic bids from individuals as well as a properly formulated business case from the Parish Council, backed by £142,000 in cash and the prospect of a substantial loan from Local Government Finance.

On 26th February 2019, SPPC was informed that the SPPC formal offer of £140,000 to purchase the freehold was not accepted by the owner of the site.

Negotiations between the Parish Council and the owner of the site are ongoing. These concern a potential purchase of the freehold. Communication with East Herts Council is also ongoing. The Save the Pub Action Group is engaged in separate negotiations for a potential leasehold option.

In the absence of an operational pub, two successful and well attended Pop-Up Pub events were held in the village hall on 18th January and 26th April.


A new look to the parish council!

After many years as councillors, the following SPPC members have opted not to stand for re-election: current Chairman Robin Whitefield, current Highways Officer Ruth Banks and past Chairman, David Nicholls.

Following local elections in May, SPPC welcomes three new councillors: Louise Balaam, Daniel Horne and Colin Berthoud.

After more than ten years as Parish Clerk, Jenny Lucas has resigned from this role. Riikka Berthoud has been appointed as the new Parish Clerk. Graham Mackrell has resigned from the role of Finance Officer and his role will in the future be carried out by the clerk.

Thank you to all retiring councillors and officers for their service - stretching over thirty years!