We’ve had to wait a long time for The Lytton Arms to re-open, but on Thursday the 17th May the day we’ve all been waiting for arrived. The Lytton Arms was once again open for business.

The pub has been upgraded in many ways, some visible, some less so:

  • the kitchen has been totally refurbished and is now state of the art,
  • the cellar has been re-fitted and can accommodate nine cask ales and a cask cider,
  • the old conservatory with the fly-catching nets has gone, and in its place is a modern, warm replacement,
  • the outside area (where the beer festival casks were set up) is now opened out right through to the boundary with the fields. This is a huge improvement on the old garden, and is perfect for this time of year,
  • every square centimetre of paintwork has been renewed, and the colour scheme modernised,
  • the roof and structural features of the building have all been fixed!

There are probably more improvements, but the main thing for me is that the pub now has plenty of beer, quick food service, a 50% discount on food until the end of the month (search for the code, but you’ll probably get it anyway if you ask), and a marvellous buzz of local residents enjoying a quiet drink in comfortable surroundings.

Jason has now taken over the running of the pub, with a very able team, which includes Stef, who will be familiar to all the regulars from the late James Price’s time running The Lytton. The pub is now part of Anglian Country Inns, a highly professional operation run by Cliff Nye, brother of Steve Nye, former landlord at the pub.

Current beers include Fat Sprat by Adnams, Koha by Mad Squirrel, Happy People by Shiny People, Nelson’s Revenge by Woodfords, Hawse Buckler by Oakham, Bring Me Sunshine by Tring, Lucky Lobster by Brancaster (part of AC Inns), Tiki Blonde by Mad Squirrel, Squid Ink by XT, Take 5 by Harpoon and Affligem by De Smelt as well as Rapple, a Raspberry cider by Apple Cottage. However, even as I type this some of these brews will have been replace. It’s very unlikely you’ll visit and not find anything interesting to drink.

The Lytton now has its own social media presence: on Instagram, on Facebook and on Twitter. Start hitting those ‘Follow’ buttons now for the latest offers!

Update on election from 3 May

Knebworth Ward has fallen to the Lib Dems in spite of all the hard work put in by my supporters and me. A very intensive campaign from the Lib Dems paid off with a victory for first time candidate Lisa Nash. The full results were as follows:

Name of Candidate Political Party Votes cast Elected?
Steve HEMINGWAY Conservative Party 742 N
Klazina HOFMANN Labour Party 141 N
Lisa NASH Liberal Democrats 957 Y
Nick NEWSON Green Party 29 N

Electorate: 3992 | Ballot papers counted:1876 | Ballot papers rejected:0 | Turnout: 46.99%

The overall North Hertfordshire results were: five down for Conservatives, with three and two gains respectively for the Lib Dems and Labour. The makeup of the council is now:

  • Conservative 29
  • Labour 14
  • Lib Dem 6

For the full results, please visit the NHDC website .

I will fight again should I be lucky enough to be selected again as your candidate.

To all my supporters: thanks for all your votes and support with the campaign. Please get in touch if you’d like to help me next time.

TL;DR:

In the NHDC Council Meeting of 11th April 2017 I voted to save public consultation responses from the shredder. My political opponents are painting this as if I voted to build on fields all around Knebworth. As I have repeatedly said in the past, I am opposed to all Green Belt development around the village.

The actual resolutions I voted for:

I have had a number of local residents contacting me stating that I voted for development to take place on sites around Knebworth. This is simply untrue. In the meeting of the full Council on 11th April 2017, I voted for the following motion:

(1) That the results of the Proposed Submission consultation, as set out in the Regulation 22 Consultation Statement attached as Appendix 1 to the report, be noted and recorded;

(2) That the new Local Plan for North Hertfordshire, attached as Appendix 2 to the report, together with the Schedule of Proposed Additional Modifications attached as Appendix 3, and other associated documentation, be approved and submitted for examination by the Secretary of State;

(3) That the revised Local Development Scheme for North Hertfordshire, attached as Appendix 4 to the report, be approved with effect from 12 April 2017;

(4) That delegated powers be granted to the Head of Development and Building Control, in consultation with the Executive Member for Planning and Enterprise, to produce such additional documentation as is required (including documentation requested by the appointed Inspector and the proposing of main modifications) before and during the examination of the Local Plan; and

(5) That Officers continue to regularly update Members on the progress of the Examination through the Strategic Planning Matters reports which are submitted to Cabinet.

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that North Hertfordshire continues to progress a new Local Plan for the management of development in the District.

Further details of the meeting, including Appendix 1 mentioned in the resolution may be read on the NHDC website here.

This motion is purely about allowing the public consultation that took place in late 2016 to be examined. This is not about the Council ignoring this consultation: under the very rigidly defined process for producing a Local Plan, responses to the consultation on the Draft Plan are examined by a Planning Inspector on behalf of the Secretary of State.

There is no possibility of me voting to approve the Local Plan. Members of NHDC do not have the power to do this. This power is vested in the Secretary of State for DCLG. The Examination in Public finished last month, and the Inspector will use this as the basis on which to write his Report, which will be submitted to the Secretary of State for adoption. This may happen in 2019, at the earliest.

As I have written before, the Local Plan does not give permission for the development of any sites around Knebworth. Before any sites on the periphery of the village are developed they will have to obtain full planning permission which will include the normal consultation process that is required before planning permission is granted. This will be withheld unless applicants can demonstrate that access and supporting infrastructure are adequate.

Herts County Council is consulting on the proposed additional double yellow lines in Gun Lane and Park Lane.

Objections to the proposals should be made in writing to Terry Curtis, Postal Point (CH0242) First Floor, East Link Corridor, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford SG13 8DN or tro.team@hertfordshire.gov.uk by 26 April 2018.

You can comment via the website at https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/highways-roads-and-pavements/changes-to-your-road/traffic-regulation-orders/traffic-regulation-orders.aspx (search for “NH00618” on the page).

North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) has awarded grant funding of over £240,000 to a number of community buildings across the district.

Knebworth Scout and Guide Group was awarded £32,000 for essential maintenance to its circa 1950’s headquarters. The funding will be put towards roofing, paving and drainage repairs. It is hoped that further funding will be available from the Knebworth Village Trust, which provides capital grants to organisations which are wholly or mainly for the use of residents of the parish of Knebworth.

The Community Facilities Capital Grant funds will extend the lifespan of the buildings and will continue to help these facilities remain at the heart of the communities they serve.

The grant funding follows a commitment made by the Council in 2016 to make £1.2 million available over a four year period to help enhance and sustain community facilities across the District.

Other awards went to North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum, which was awarded £50,000 to help build an extension which will be used as a meeting room at their headquarters in Whinbush Road, Hitchin.

Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre was awarded £50,000 towards the conversion of the Old Fire Station, which is part of their building, into a new heritage area.

Hitchin Educational Foundation was awarded £50,000 towards the renovation of a derelict Scout hall on land between Bancroft and Grammar School Walk.

Pirton Village Hall was awarded £45,000 to build a multi-purpose room for community groups to use.

Barkway Village Hall was awarded £15,000 to create a new emergency exit and renovate their kitchen area.

Further information about the Community Facilities Capital Projects Fund, including how to apply for funding, can be found here: www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/community/grants/community-facilities-capital-projects-fund.