The Flying Pig has been saved from demolition but some say the proposed changes to the pub would make it ‘unrecognisable’.
It has been revealed that a beloved Cambridge pub will be partially demolished to make way for a new development.
The Flying Pig pub, which is housed in a 175-year-old building, has been under threat of being knocked down for more than a decade in favour of a modern development.
But Pace Investments, owner of the 104-112 Hills Road site, recently announced the Flying Pig would be kept in the current building, saying it would undergo some “alterations and refurbishment to ensure its longevity”.
However, only the main room and the facade will be saved, with the rest of the building demolished.
This includes back rooms and the accommodations, which has housed landlords Justine and Matthew Hatfield and their two children for 20 years.
The kitchen and toilets will be moved upstairs, and the enclosed garden will instead be shared with all surrounding businesses.
This would mean the pub may not be able to host its annual Pigfest, an all-day festival raising money for charity, due to space constraints.
Summer trade could be severely hit by the lack of a private garden too, since anyone can sit in the garden without going through the pub.
Changes could make the pub ‘unrecognisable’
Regulars have complained that the Flying Pig is not saved, as this would leave the business ‘unrecognisable’.
One regular, Nick Barraclough, has an especially close relationship with the Flying Pig.
As a musician, he performs there regularly, but his great-great-grandparents ran the pub towards the end of the 19th century.
Mr Barraclough drank there regularly while working in Cambridge in the 1980s, but started learning more about its history. He wrote a book about the pub titled A Disorderly House.
Mr Barraclough said: “It is a step in the right direction, but when you dig a bit deeper you find that the back is going to be demolished.”
He added: “It’s a good town pub that’s been there for 175 years. It’s busy every night of the week. It’s a thriving pub that provides a great service.
“And part of the reason it works is because the people who run it live upstairs and are invested in it in every respect.
“That’s how it works and that gives it the atmosphere that it has.
“Not only that, but if you lose the back bar that means the amount of people the building can accommodate is severely reduced.
“On music nights, three or four times a week, they move several tables out to accommodate the bands, but they won’t be able to afford to do that because they’ll need to fill it as much as they can to keep the place viable.
“So the music will have to go.”
He added that the development, which compromises a significant part of Hills Road, is “monumental”, changing the area as a whole massively.
“It’s not just the Flying Pig,” he said.
“It’s all around as well.”
Mr Barraclough added: ”The viability of the pub is going to be compromised severely.
“The loss of the outdoor area will have a significant, a huge impact on running the business.
“They’re very generous with the musicians.
“They pay them a lot more than a lot of other pubs do. They can do that because they have a good business running.
“It’s expensive business, running a pub.
“The boost they get from the summer from people drinking outside is huge.”
He added that he and others are “exasperated” and “terribly frustrated” with the situation.
Mr Barraclough continued: “Others might say be grateful for the fact that they’ve saved some of it, but no, we want to keep the whole place.
“There’s been so much change in Cambridge over the years, but this is a good business. It seems ludicrous that they can’t hang onto this one.
“They ought to be able to leave it alone.”
Mr Barraclough added that many pubs were finding it harder and harder to justify hosting live music due to the cost, but the Flying Pig is one of the few places in Cambridge that offers live music for free.
Pace Investments responds
Jonathan Vincent, managing director of developers Pace Investments said: “We are wholly committed to preserving the much-loved Flying Pig Pub as a home for real ale and live music.
“It sits at the very heart of our proposals. We believe the plans will enhance the viability and, importantly, accessibility of the pub so it can be enjoyed by all.
“There will be a significant uplift in potential customers for the pub as a result of the development and we are providing modern facilities including a new energy efficient kitchen and fully accessible toilets to ensure its longevity.
“The pub will continue to have the same internal and external public floor area that it enjoys today. The existing front room bar will remain, while the public back room will be relocated upstairs.
“The outside space will be re-provided for The Flying Pig’s use either side of the pub.
“As this is private land, we do not anticipate an issue with any licences for the outside spaces. The pub and its outside areas will also benefit from the development’s dedicated on-site security service.”
Campaigners trying to save the Flying Pig in its entirety are working to draw attention to the upcoming consultations with the developers.
Plans will go on display to the public for the first time in the lobby of Betjeman House, 104 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 1LQ on:
- Thursday, December 5 from 4pm to 7pm
- Saturday, December 7 from 10am to 2pm
Credit for this goes to Cambridgeshire Live.
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