Appeal over plans to transform historic Biggleswade pub into a house set to be heard this week

CAMRA is calling for support for The Red Lion pub
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The fate of an historic Biggleswade pub could be decided this week.

And campaigners are calling on the Planning Inspectorate to reject an appeal to turn the Red Lion in the town, into a single dwelling.

The Red Lion in BiggleswadeThe Red Lion in Biggleswade
The Red Lion in Biggleswade

East Bedfordshire Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) wants to keep the Grade II listed building as a pub and is calling for the rejection of the appeal.

Branch chairman, Barry Price, said: “It would be a travesty to lose the Red Lion. The appellant has not made any attempt to address the issues raised in the rejection of their original planning application and has made the extraordinary claim that erasing this once thriving venue for live music and community events from the map of Biggleswade would somehow contribute to the vitality of the nighttime economy of the town.

“We’re calling on the Planning Inspectorate to reject this ill-considered appeal that would affect the character of the town itself by removing an historic community pub in a prime location. CAMRA is confident that, in the right hands, properly marketed and offered at a realistic price, the Red Lion can rise again.”

The Red Lion closed for good in January 2019 after it was sold to developers by Greene King. An application to turn it into 'one dwelling' was submitted in March 2022.

In its design and access statement, Elliott Builders Ltd stated that the change would contribute to housing stock and create jobs, but Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) disagreed and said it would "result in the loss of a community facility".

Elliott Builders told the council: "Although the proposal would result in the loss of a vacant public house … there are a number of other public houses and bars within a short walking distance from the site."

But, rejecting the scheme, CBC said it would "result in the loss of a community facility".

In 2018 CAMRA applied for an Asset of Community Value (ACV) on behalf of the pub, to highlight the vital role it played in the community, but CBC refused the ACV application.

The inquiry is being held on November 15/16.