22 Parkway update re Wetherspoon

The property owned by Wetherspoon at 22 Parkway is back in the local news as a sign has appeared at the property proposing a new Cherry Tree pub, “subject to planning permission”. The sign itself required advertising consent from WHBC but Wetherspoon do not appear to have applied for such consent, WHBC is apparently investigating the matter.

Currently there is no new planning application for the site. As far as the Society is aware nothing has changed since the last two planning applications for the site were rejected by WHBC. We await the details of any new application that may be submitted by Wetherspoon for the site. There still appears to be some misleading chatter about the Society’s position on this subject, so we would like to clarify here. The WGC Society does not object to a Wetherspoon pub in WGC, there are apparently 895 Wetherspoon pubs in the UK and many in Hertfordshire. Wetherspoon itself is based not far away in Watford. The issue is their chosen location, and the impact a pub there might have on those living nearby, particularly, the residential flats nearby, and the town centre generally. The site sits outside the retail area, and we believe, within the EMS area. Whereas Wetherspoon pubs nearby, for example, Letchworth, Hatfield, Hertford and Hitchin, are located within the retail zone of the town, among the shopfronts and other businesses.

There is an interesting statement in Wetherspoon’s most recent annual report, on page 5 where they state: “We have sold, or terminated the leases of, 76 pubs, in the last 2 years, at a loss of approximately £45m, including previously reported impairments. Some mistakes are inevitable in site selection, but we hope to learn from these experiences, in order to try to avoid similar mistakes in the future.”

Clearly they are aware of the importance of site selection for their outlets. In light of this we hope they will look again at 22 Parkway, and look again at other sites that may be far more likely to meet local planning policy requirements. In summary, the Society is not anti-Wetherspoon. It is a matter of town planning and following the planning rules that have served the town well for many decades. Who knows…perhaps there may be scope for a Wetherspoon in the forthcoming Shredded Wheat site, just a thought.

 

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