Campaign to re-open Kings Head launched

PUBLISHED: 07:48 31 August 2006 | UPDATED: 21:16 29 May 2010

Alex Wilingale outside the boarded-up Kings Head pub - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Alex Wilingale outside the boarded-up Kings Head pub - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

THREE years after the Kings Head pub closed down, one desperate resident has launched a campaign by starting up a petition to try and get it re-opened. Alex Wilingale, of Gibbons Court, Dunmow, has had enough of seeing what used to be a lively, sociable p

THREE years after the Kings Head pub closed down, one desperate resident has launched a campaign by starting up a petition to try and get it re-opened.

Alex Wilingale, of Gibbons Court, Dunmow, has had enough of seeing what used to be a lively, sociable pub turned into a neglected property with boarded-up windows.

"I'm fed up with looking across at the run-down building, which is ruining the Dunmow landscape. I feel this is the only way forward as our calls to get it re-opened have fallen on deaf ears."

Allied Property and Leisure Ltd bought the Kings Head in August 2003. The company applied to Uttlesford District Council to build three houses in the site's garden but was refused last January.

It then lodged an appeal but that was also rejected. Planning permission was later granted for an extension to the back of the pub so the owners could turn it into a hotel.

Mr Wilingale and fellow residents have aroused suspicions over whether the owners of the Kings Head have deliberately neglected the building by stalling development work.

In doing this, Allied Property could see the building placed on the risk register list and it may be pulled down.

Mr Wilingale said: "One wonders if this is what the developers of the Kings Head, in particular, would like to happen so they are granted permission for the houses."

Mr Wilingale has now begun a petition which he intends to give to Uttlesford District Council with a covering letter asking what action would be taken if such an incident occurred and when such action would take place.

John Mitchell, Uttlesford District Council's executive manager of development services, said: "The Kings Head is a listed building and has been given permission for an extension for tourist accommodation and we expect work to be carried out.

"Last time we checked the building was not neglected by us or the owners."

"But when will the council step in and take assessment?" asked Mr Wilingale, who is desperate to find out and he is not alone in his anguish.

Dave Lowe of Counting House Lane, Dunmow, shares his view and he too would like to know when the Kings Head will reopen following numerous missed opening dates.

He said: "The place used to be packed most nights. The Kings Head is part of Dunmow's history and we shouldn't lose it as a working pub."

In response to such suspicions and questions over the pub's opening, Allied Property's secretary Paul Morris said: "Uttlesford District Council's property developer assessed the property three weeks ago and was perfectly happy with the current conditions of the building stating that the property would not need to be placed on the risk register list."

He added: "She said she was happy with the proposed programme of work. With plans now in place for hotel development we hope the work should take no longer than four months with the Kings Head to be open before Christmas.

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