Opposition mounts to plan that could see chapel used as bar

St Ives Chapel,

St Ives Chapel, - Credit: Archant

An application to serve alcohol at an historic chapel in St Ives is still pending, despite a potential u-turn from Cambridgeshire County Council over its use as a bar.

Submitted by Andrew Richard Jennings to Huntingdonshire District Council, the Chapel of St Ledger, in London Road, could see alcohol served from 6pm till 10pm three days a week.

But support is dwindling amid concerns about the site’s heritage and ability to function as bar, prompting owner Cambridgeshire County Council to start discussions over whether to grant its permission.

Paul Bullen, county councillor for St Ives, said: “As the local member I had complaints from English Heritage, residents and town councillors and went to officers and one said they had given permission. So I told them ‘No, it’s not happening.’ The application should not be going through.”

The news comes after representations were made to the district council opposing the premises licence, including a petition with more than 700 signatures and a report from St Ives Town Council.

As well as arguing the importance of the site being a Grade I listed building, town councillors have raised concerns about how Mr Jennings will, as a sole trader, operate the site.

Other issues include traffic regulations on the bridge, and public nuisance if people drink outside.

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The town council added: “With the vicinity to the river and the likelihood of outdoors drinking there is a strong risk of the river being used as a dumping ground and this will endanger the wildlife and river users.”

Speaking to The Hunts Post, Councillor Ian Dobson, said: “It’s an iconic structure and people became aware that the application had been put in on the basis that it was not in constant use, but it is.”

He added: “Quite a few people think there are enough pubs and bars in the town. There are lots of people passing across the bridge and why should they be confronted with the smell of beer?”

Cllr Bullen added: “It’s not conducive to run as a pub. There’s no sanitation, no main services. Do we need a micro pub?”

A spokesman from Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Members of the assets and investment committee as well as the local member need to discuss the proposal before any decisions about permission can be made.”