Hunts Post readers’ choice for name of new Huntingdon pub is ditched after appeal by society

Wetherspoon is coming to town

Wetherspoon is coming to town - Credit: Archant

Pub chain Wetherspoon has apologised to Hunts Post readers after making a U-turn on the name of its planned pub in Huntingdon.

Despite The Harlequin coming top in a vote run by this paper to name the planned £2.3 million development at the old Post Office, just off the ring road, the company has opted for Sandford House, which attracted very few votes in the poll.

Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, said: “We apologise to any Hunts Post readers who are disappointed as we asked them to choose from a long list of names, including The Harlequin.”

In response to an objection raised in a letter from the Huntingdon and Godmanchester Civic Society, the company has ditched The Harlequin name readers voted for.

The Society felt The Harlequin, which commemorates a theatre of the same name on the site of the old chapel in the 1800s, had “little or no resonance with the people of Huntingdon”.

Mr Gershon said: “Following a letter from the Society, we have now decided to name the pub Sandford House. The Society pointed out that it has a more historical association with the town.

“Our aim is for Sandford House to be an important aspect of Huntingdon’s social and economic scene for many, many years and we believe it to be the right name for the pub.”

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Vice chairman and secretary of the Society, Richard Meredith, said: “Local people I spoke to didn’t know there had even been a theatre there.”

The building next the old chapel was originally called Sandford House, a substantial private residence. Built in 1850, the Grade II-listed building went on to house the Post Office.

While the Society objected to The Harlequin name in its letter, it does support the development.

“Sandford House is a Victorian Italianate villa that has fallen into a state of disrepair,” said Mr Meredith. “And Wethersoon has a good track record of refurbishing buildings like this. They will restore it to its former glory. It’s a great opportunity for that part of town and we welcome it.”

The Society has offered Wetherspoon a ‘green plaque’, which recognises buildings of historical interest, but the company has not yet responded to the invitation.

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