A Berkhamsted pub landlord fears he may be forced to close after he was told his huge outdoor tent might have to be taken down.
Andy Clarke, who owns The Old Mill pub, has been told by council planners that his massive tent in the beer garden may have to be removed as it does not have the right planning permission.
The tent was installed earlier in the pandemic to allow for more people to safely enjoy eating and drinking at The Old Mill while adhering to COVID rules.
However, now he has been told it may have to be taken down and to make matters worse he has been informed of complaints about live music being played from the tent.
Dismayed after a tough year Andy is now working to try and resolve the issue with the council.
The community have also shown their support for Andy and The Old Mill with more than 200 people signing a petition calling on the council to grant planning consent for the stretch tent and allow music in it during COVID restrictions.
That support follows widespread praise for Andy and the pub earlier this year after they turned the pub into a shop during lockdown. It helped support the community who wanted to stay local or struggled to get their hands on some items.
Speaking to BerkhamstedNews, Andy said: “It feels like another problem to deal with after such a difficult year where the rules have constantly changed.
“I didn’t know any planning permission would be needed and the council are saying a retrospective planning application may be needed.
“If the tent is forced to be taken down and we can’t have live music and events then we will have real problems.
“I’ve invested £100k into this pub, which is loved by so many in the community, but if I lost the Saturday night trade as it currently is then the worst may happen – I want to avoid 35 people having to be made redundant.
“The tent has been so well received by those that have used it and we have had live music and events whenever we can. Although we always make sure we are finished by 9pm so we don’t disturb people and we monitor the sound levels.
“However, there has been some complaints from people living nearby which makes the planning issue even trickier. I’ll write to the residents because we are a responsible pub and we feel that since we arrived two years ago we have helped bring such a well-loved pub back to how it should be.
“The pub and the tent have allowed people to enjoy a bit of normality and for a lot of people that makes a huge difference.”