The Spotted Bull – What’s all the fuss about?

This run-down pub on Verulam Road is being converted to a ‘premium wine bar’. Repainting the front has resulted in a visual improvement and, judged by this, the development might be thought of as enhancing the local environment. So why is APRA (along with the Aboyne and Verulam Road RA’s) officially objecting to it? Please read on, and click on the photos below.

1. Successive plans for the building (there have been no less than 15 applications registered with SADC since last June) have resulted in continuous enlargement, doubling the client service area. SADC has already refused one version as too large and out of keeping with the original building.

Spotted Bull photo2. It has been built anyway. Without regard to planning process, local objections and an Enforcement Notice served for removal of part of the extension, it is advertised as ‘opening soon’.

3. The doubled capacity clearly puts additional strain the local residential area from noise, traffic and car parking, especially at night if drinking is allowed outside until 11 pm and inside until 1 am.

Spotted Bull photo4. The design has successively encroached into the old pub garden at the rear and now has large opening doors facing 12 terrace houses in College Street, which as listed buildings are not normally allowed double glazing for sound suppression (and nor should such recourse be necessitated by the actions of another neighbour over the garden wall).

Spotted Bull photo5. The previous grassed pub garden is being fully paved. This will exacerbate the noise problem and seems contrary to Environment Agency guidance – no assessment has been published concerning flood risk.

Spotted Bull photoIf developers build whatever they like, regardless of planning regulations, and are allowed to get away with it by cumbersome, tardy and ineffective control, then we might as well abandon the idea of a St Albans Conservation Area entirely.

The current round of planning applications is open but begins to close on 9th June. Individuals’ comments may be made on SADC website. Go to Planning and Building, Advanced Search and enter *Spotted Bull* as the Site Location. The new applications are on the second page.