Labour councillors have reacted with disappointment to news that the application by Pace (Hills Road) Ltd to redevelop 104-112 Hills Road, which includes the old Flying Pig pub, has been allowed on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate after it was refused by the planning committee in April 2021.
Reasons for the initial refusal were the lack of mixed use or residential development, as the site is defined as mixed use/residential under the existing local plan; that the development was out of scale and the building would have been too big and dominant in a conservation area; and concerns over the continued viability of the Flying Pig with a smaller garden and reduced facilities. On appeal, Pace were able to persuade the planning inspectorate that all these conditions were met.
Petersfield City Councillor, Cllr Richard Robertson, said:
“This is a bad decision and we remain concerned. It condones the loss of new housing which had been approved on a large part of the site, whilst the developer has somehow persuaded the inspector that there is instead an overwhelming need for offices. With regard to the Flying Pig, very regrettably the developer has convinced the inspector into thinking that retaining much of the physical building will mean that it will continue to be a successful pub.”
“There was never any real intention to keep the Flying Pig viable. In an appalling example of fake news, the developer set up a website claiming to run a campaign to “Save the Pig” when he closed it himself in the interim period, in terminating the lease to the Hatfields who had made such a huge success of the building as a pub and vibrant music venue. The Flying Pig has a long history, not only in relation to its well-known connections to Pink Floyd, but going far back, probably having been built in 1832 and originally to serve the workers building the railway when it first came to Cambridge. The building fabric may have been retained but it will be dwarfed and overshadowed by an 8-storey office block immediately behind it.”
Executive Councillor for Planning policy and Transport, Cllr Katie Thornburrow commented:
“I am very disappointed about the outcome in this planning appeal. As a member of the planning committee, it is never easy to refuse a large-scale application as there are always arguments that the City needs more office space. In this case we felt that the proposed design was not satisfactory, not least in relation to concerns about lack of housing in this mixed-used development and the cultural importance of the Flying Pig to the area. I hope that the developers will reflect on those concerns.
I will be monitoring the development closely and will expect the developer to follow through on its initial pledge to retain the Flying Fig.”