New plans for derelict St Neots pub

Mr Whitfield outside the pub. Picture: HELEN DRAKE.

Mr Whitfield outside the pub. Picture: HELEN DRAKE. - Credit: Archant

A derelict pub in St Neots could be rented out and turned into a restaurant, shops, cafe or offices.

The Old Falcon Hotel, in Market Square, is being marketed by Barford+Co as an opportunity to create a ground floor restaurant, retail area or bar in the building, which is set to be refurbished.

The firm is offering units from 1,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft, with an additional bar or restaurant opportunity overlooking the river. The upstairs space, which is not yet on the market, is expected to be for residential use.

The pub’s owner Dennis Whitfield, founder of the Whitfield Group, which owns and develops property all over the East of England, told The Hunts Post he has also created a new proposal for the building.

He said more would be revealed in the coming weeks but said he intends to put the plans to HDC, which has previously turned down his proposals as they included demolishing a 19th century boathouse at the back of the building.

HDC said it would only allow demolition if a riverside walkway was open for people to use. However, these plans were reliant upon Mr Whitfield being able to buy land from a neighbouring business and no deal could be struck.

Mr Whitfield hoped to turn the Grade II-listed building into a shopping complex with restaurants, bars and flats after he bought it for £1million in 2005. It was recently listed for sale with a guide price of between £500,000 and £750,000.

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He said: “We have talked to the council and we are trying again to come up with a new plan which we think they may like. They are being particularly difficult at the moment – they say they want the building repainted and things like that. What I want to do is to get the place back in use.

He added: “We put it on the market to see if we could get some reasonable offers on it because it’s got to the point where we were just knocking our heads on a brick wall with the council.”

Felicity Paddick, a surveyor at Barford+Co, said: “We’re offering it to let now. The rent really depends on the space they take. It’s a little bit up in the air – it’s about who comes along and how much space they want. It could be anyone – A1 retail, financial, professional, restaurants, cafés. Mr Whitfield would be keeping it and developing it himself as the landlord.”