Resident’s fears for future of historic site in Luton

Luton Council has asked for a new application to be submitted for the former Round Green Tavern Site after a complaint was made about alterations made to the property.

Plans from Sheriff Construction Ltd were approved by the council in October to refurbish and extend the existing building, on Hitchin Road, to create nine new flat units, the retention of one existing flat unit and create a new shop on the ground floor within the existing building.

The former Round Green Tavern pub in Luton

The former Round Green Tavern pub in Luton

The council has also received plans from Penrose for a fascia sign on both east and west sides of the building, replacing the current ‘round green tavern’ signs and changing to ‘Penrose Estate Agents’. This application has not yet been decided.

A woman contacted the Luton News after seeing the alterations made to the building, she said: “Round Green Tavern, built in 1800’s, is listed on the Luton Heritage Site.

“It is a historical asset. I was shocked to see the front side facing Hitchin Road had been transformed, they have got rid of every piece of the history. The windows have gone the arch doors have gone, it has new bricks, which don’t match the old ones.

“They have put small windows and glass front has been put on. It is really over-powering. I think it is such a shocking transformation for the area.”

After receiving the compliant regarding the alterations the council visited the site. A spokesman said: “We have made an initial investigation and subsequently written to both owners and their agents stating that current works are not in keeping with the terms of the original planning application.

“They must now submit a new application for the council to consider and determine.

“This will be subject to the usual neighbour consultation process during which people can write and object or support an application.

“It will then be a matter for the council to approve or refuse.

“If it’s a refusal we could take enforcement action to make the applicant comply with the original permission.”

Ekrem Mahmutaj, Managing Director of Sheriff Construction Ltd, said: “When we took over the building, it was in a very poor state of repair both externally and internally. Outside, parts of the building were crumbling and inside we found the fixtures and fittings to be unfit for purpose.

“After the planning came through, a structural engineer’s report found that a lot of the external façade was unstable.

“ While we always hoped to retain some of the original style of the building, our planning application never included any stipulation to keep the original features.

“We’re sorry to hear some people are not happy with how it looks but at the moment, but would like to make it clear that the project is still unfinished. We have made some minor changes from our plans and have submitted these to the planners to be reviewed before we finish things off.

“We are small developers who have lived in Luton for many years and our intention with this building has always been to provide quality living spaces and ensure the building is sustainable.

“Overall, in our opinion, we feel the new building is a massive improvement on the derelict site we took over.”