Community group plans to reopen pub in Dunstable

Members from the Dunstable North Community Group are hoping to reopen The Bird in Hand pub for the public.

Dunstable North Community Group, set up to save the pub, started a petition to keep it running as a pub and was delighted in March with the news that the building had been listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) by Central Bedfordshire Council. The Bird in Hand, on High Street North, in Dunstable, closed in November.

The Bird in Hand Pub. Photo by Jordan Dearlove

The Bird in Hand Pub. Photo by Jordan Dearlove

A spokesman for the group said: “Unfortunately the now closed Bird in Hand pub in Dunstable suffered in March from the occupation of squatters, but relentless calls to the police and the council from the local community ensured that the owners dealt with the situation relatively quickly and removed the squatters.

“Unfortunately it is clear that internal damage and appropriation of fixtures has taken place. This incident was followed by a 24/7 security presence on the site.”

Pubs that are listed as ACVs need a planning application for a change of use or demolish them for the duration of the listing. An ACV gives the community a chance to buy the property if it comes up for sale within a certain time frame.

After that, the owner may sell it to whoever and at whatever price they choose.

The Bird in Hand pub. Photo by Jordan Dearlove

The Bird in Hand pub. Photo by Jordan Dearlove

The spokesman added: “The owners submitted an ‘Intent to Dispose’ notice to the council which under the terms of the ACV, started a six week period for the community to decide whether it wished to bid for the pub.

“During that period we set up the appropriate community interest corporation ‘Dunstable North Community CIC’ and today (Wednesday, April 24) submitted an ‘Intent to Bid’. We will take on the next phase of our action once we have the formal sale details from the owners.

“The building is starting to look dishevelled so we want to get this popular pub managed and reopened as soon as possible.”

>> Anyone who wants to support the group, email: dunstablenorthcommunity@gmail.com.

The Bird in Hand pub. Photo by Jordan Dearlove

The Bird in Hand pub. Photo by Jordan Dearlove