St Neots hotel owner to face court proceedings after failing to comply with clean-up notice

The Falcon Pub, St Neots,

The Falcon Pub, St Neots, - Credit: Archant

The owner of The Old Falcon Hotel in St Neots is to face court proceedings after failing to comply with a legal notice ordering him to carry out repairs to the historic building.

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has issued a summons to owner Dennis Whitfield, of the Whitfield Group in Swavesey, to appear at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on September 23.

HDC raised concerns about the “deteriorating condition” of the building (pictured), which is part Grade 1 and Grade 2 listed, and issued the order after Mr Whitfield could not provide “clear and convincing plans” for the renovation of the former hotel on the town’s Market Square.

Planners also made clear that the interim repairs should form part of a complete refurbishment of the property and advised Mr Whitfield to seek professional advice regarding the property’s heritage and flood risk, as the rear of the building backs onto the River Great Ouse.

Mr Whitfield bought the hotel 10 years ago but his plans hit the buffers when his application to refurbish the building, including land at the rear, which is in a conservation area, were refused.

Chairman of St Neots Town Council, James Corley told The Hunts Post the town council was keen to see the building back in general use.

“It is such a shame as this wonderful old building should be a focal point for the town and the river frontage,” he said.

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“The town council would like to see the building put back into practical use and we are happy that HDC has taken this positive step.”

Mr Whitfield was unavailable for comment when The Hunts Post contacted him yesterday (Tuesday) but in a previous statement, issued when he received the legal notice, he said he had been “thwarted all the way along by HDC”.

“If they could only agree to some reasonable proposals of what we could do with the building then I would have been very happy to have not left it in the state it is,” he said.

HDC confirmed it had issued proceedings for failure to comply with a Section 215 Notice.