THE future of the historic Old Falcon pub in St Neots could be decided next month.

THE future of the historic Old Falcon pub in St Neots could be decided next month.

Planners from Huntingdonshire District Council are due to meet pub owner and property developer Dennis Whitfield to talk about a scheme that would see the site redeveloped and reopened.

The Hunts Post described in November last year how Mr Whitfield, who bought the pub in 2005, planned to create a complex of shops facing the Market Square, apartments on the upper floors, bars and restaurants in the old coach yard behind the pub and a terrace overlooking the River Great Ouse.

But his plans to demolish a 19th century boathouse, which would allow him to open up access to the river, have caused problems because of the age of the building, and the project was put on hold.

But after a meeting last Wednesday (March 14) between Mayor of St Neots Councillor Barry Chapman, urban design and conservation officers from HDC and Mr Whitfield, a decision could soon be on the cards.

Cllr Chapman told The Hunts Post: "In December we invited developer Dennis Whitfield to meet with conservation officers at St Neots Town Council.

"All parties have agreed a deadline of the end of April when it is hoped we can get an agreement on the future of the Old Falcon and ancillary buildings."

Cllr Chapman refused to be drawn on whether future plans would involve the demolition of any part of the Old Falcon site, but he said talks had been "very positive".

Mr Whitfield, said: "I am very grateful they [HDC] are taking notice of our position. I am hopeful that their positive stance will continue. I am also grateful to Barry Chapman for pushing forward with it and to HDC planning officer Paul Bland for being so co-operative and understanding the enormous costs involved."