Last Orders for Crown Al Fresco Fun?

Summer is well upon us now, and the humidity leads to shorter temper than usual as one tries to traverse the tramworks. As the excavations move up towards town, Chilwell Road becomes easier to access but to the pedestrian, it’s like Shackleton seeking out the North West Passage.

Even the Crown is suffering. Despite being a major summer draw to thirsty Beestonians, they still feel the hit of lack of access. The White Lion and Star both have frustrating access issues, and are excluded from the greater part of financial assistance as both businesses are relatively new.

You’d think that the Council would throw their weight behind what is rapidly becoming one of the strongest elements of Beeston’s economy. I’ve been to many meetings at the Town Hall to discuss how to improve Beeston’s nighttime/leisure economy and posited suggestions, some taken up, others still lingering on the Broxtowe back-burner. As our town now has a fantastic reputation for pubs, surely these should be cherished, supported and, if needs must, used by the council.

I often find myself drinking with our local representatives. Cllr Kerry is a fan of The Hop Pole. The Lallys like The Last Post. Cllr Marshall rarely fails to rally a team for the Crown pub quiz. Cllr Carr is no stranger to the odd glass of red wine. Cllr Barber makes it his mission as a Beestonian politician to ensure regular attendance at every pub in town: true dedication.

So it seems that I can count on their support when I mention a bit of daftness I heard today. The Crown has, for the past few years of being a Good Pub, held a hugely popular summer festival, bringing in local bands and local food sellers each weekend, with great success. Swarms of drinkers, foodies and music lovers descend, and to accommodate them all a temporary marquee is put up to counter the pluvial vagaries of the British Summer: if it rains, you can still relish the al-fresco.

It’s an unassuming structure, detracting little from the building, and leaving no scars when packed away in autumn. But they’ve had a letter from the council this week that thinks differently. The structure, through Broxtowe’s eyes, contravenes certain planning laws applied to listed buildings, of which the Crown is one. They have been given a few days to take it down. Oh dear.

I’ll declare an interest. I do drink down the Crown on occasion, and they do stick an ad in the Beestonian each month. We also use it for the Oxjam Festival, it’s a key venue in the day for music, and we make a fair bit of money using the beer garden as a wristband exchange and loose-change beggar. As anyone who attended last year will remember, we were blessed with great weather until the last act, where the heavens opened and torrential rain bucketed down for five minutes. Luckily, they had shelter, and watched from the dry comforts of the marquee.

All the same, I implore the council to have a rethink and show a bit of discretion here. I know rules exist for a reason, but to so stridently enforce them in ways that will only prove counter-productive in the end is daft, and makes the Council look like a bunch of joyless pen-pushers, which they really aren’t.

If you aren’t happy with this situation, please write to your local councillor right now and ask them to stand up for The Crown, and all pubs that have a difficult job, but a vital role, in the town’s future.

Who is your councillor? Find out here: http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=703.

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21 thoughts on “Last Orders for Crown Al Fresco Fun?

  1. Dane says:

    Crazy! I could understand if it impacted the structure of the building but this reeks of someone trying too hard to justify his/her salary.

  2. CT says:

    I’m afraid this appears to be the epitome of the stereotypical ‘jobs worth’. Who ON EARTH is losing out? It is rubbish like this that gets local government a bad name and enables national politicians to take away more and more powers that should quite rightly be exercised locally. While I’m having a rant, and assuming there are some local councillors reading this, what’s with the piddling parking charges with a fine for anyone who fails to remember to pick up their ticket for a ‘free hour’ (yes, you guessed it, I got one when they introduced charges at Foster Avenue)? Straight question: do local councillors WANT people to come and shop (i.e. spend their money) in Beeston? If so, how have your actions made this easier or harder? (Alright, two straight questions).

  3. Chris says:

    The council website is completely mobile unfriendly. I’ll write as soon as I get on a computer and can look up my councillor.
    Do you know where we can find details of the objection/ order from the council please?

  4. Keith Holness says:

    WE are in charge. They are merely in office. TWATS. That is how democracy works. This is down to jobsworth employees (PAID FOR BY US) advising imbeciles.

  5. Treecull says:

    I have seen such temporary marquees in the grounds of stately homes which, I assert, must be at least as listed as the Crown. I suspect a newly qualified young planning officer must be behind this silly decision. Take another look, there must be some wriggle room.

  6. mary bates says:

    The crown brings a lot of happiness into a sad town. Beeston does not look its best at the moment and the crown is doing its bit in cheering people up during the summer months!! The marquee is not offensive nor damaging it os not an eyesore. Many pubs are struggling at the moment but crown is drawing in crowds surely there are more inportant fights to be had!!!

  7. Steve Carr says:

    Madness. I shall be venting my spleen in the morning.

  8. That would be an outrageous, futile and unnecessary decision on so many levels. On the aesthetic / listed building issue, you can’t see the marquee unless you drive into the car park. Regarding helping or rather not hindering local businesses and growing the night time economy of Beeston. What the Crown has done with their marquee and events is a great example of their innovation and entrepreneurship improving what having Beeston has to offer. I have been there on Friday evenings when they have a different genre of food each week from local suppliers and there has been a great family, community buzzing atmosphere there.

    One other thing, regarding “contacting your local councillor” the map on Broxtowe council website is pants. It shows a map of the county, how the feck I am supposed to see which ward I am on without being able to zoom in to street level is impossible (I think I am on the border of 3 wards)…have the council not heard of google maps (or other similar).Or in a radical move to be customer friendly and democratic there should be a search facility to enter your address & see who my councillor is, how I contact them, their Fb and twitter links etc.

  9. How ridiculous! The Crown may be a listed building but putting a marquee up in the car park hardly detracts from the building and is not even visible to passersby. The marquee provides shelter from both the sun and the rain in the summer months and is well used. Perhaps the council should spend more time issuing writs to NET as they have caused more disturbance and disruption than I ever thought possible. Let’s hope some common sense can be used here.

  10. There is probably some grossly overpaid jobsworth in the council planning department who every now and again has to justify his existence. Or maybe to get things sorted out with the council that certain palms have to greased and all runs smoothly !!

  11. Sue Stokes says:

    My family have drank & supported the Crown for over 50 years. In that time Beeston has changed many times but other than the lounge extension & decorating the Crown has remained a constant in many peoples life’s. So I say to the council “Hands off the Crown” it’s only a marque it does not affect the main fabric of the building & amid the chaos of the carbuncle of a tram the Crown & others like it act like a shelter from the storm.

  12. Rylander says:

    Spleen vented here. Do we want to go back to the poor pub culture that Beeston once boasted – re-open Charlie’s Barn for fight-nights maybe? Do the council just want us all hopping on the tram to find other drinking holes outside of the town?

  13. Pete Bone says:

    It’s important to lobby the council to make sure this error gets corrected. I hope it doesn’t become an inter-party slanging match between councillors seeking to apportion blame. It’s probably a mistake made by an inexperienced and over-eager planner.

  14. stevebarber says:

    I’ve just got back from the Pennine Way and got this one. It is a listed building which means they need permission to do most things such as when they removed the 1960’s thermoplastic tiles to reveal the old quarry tiles; we gave them that without hesitation. I remember an application for a smoking shelter which was granted (amongst the 13 applications we have received for listed building consent for this building) but I can’t recall one for the marquee. I am sure any application would be considered and the councillors involved would listen to all views (Lobbying). That’s democracy. I am making further enquiries.

  15. Mike says:

    The list of planning applications from the Crown. A covered seating area in 2009. Nothing since 2010.

  16. Keith Holness says:

    The local councillors seem to be supine idiots and the staff have GCSEs in stupidity. WE PAY FOR THIS!!!!!

  17. Dane says:

    Do you require planning permission for a temp structure in a garden?

  18. Chris Smith says:

    I agree, I would hope the temporary cover can be used again this year. However I am not sure of the need or value in ridiculing those who work for the council.

    • Rylander says:

      I dunno there Chris – perhaps when they start making sense and do things in the interest of the neighbourhood, then they might get a round of applause – instead of hiding behing the bureaucracy and rules of democracy that they invent. And don’t get me on to paying for parking …….

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