James Hanning, who ran the Brickyard in Verulam Road, St Albans permanently closed the venue on Saturday 10th September. Hanning claims to have spent half a million pounds restoring and expanding the former Spotted Bull pub, including installing expensive sound insulation. James said: “I simply cannot continue the struggle against the neighbours and St Albans District Council (SADC) regulatory services. Our immediate neighbours continue to file complaints resulting in SADC licensing enforcement officers continually visiting the premises while we were trying to trade”. The Spotted Bull was extended and modernised in 2014, and neighbours filed complaints about noise from customers and loud music, particularly when they have been in the rear garden and patio area. Mr Hanning claims he was physically assaulted in the street outside the Brickyard, by a neighbour who was shouting ‘we don’t want you’ and ‘you’ve been told’.
There have been problems from the start of the building work, some of which was started without planning permission. The pub is in a conservation area and upon opening the neighbours complained about noise levels, which were much in excess of anything they had experienced from the Spotted Bull, which was a community local. Objections were also made against extended opening hours. The Brickyard did sell real ale from local brewers but Mr Hanning admitted that he had been trading at a loss for quite some time. On 9 November a planning application was submitted to St Albans District Council for a change of use of the Brickyard to a residential dwelling. Its applicant is one James Hanning.
James Hanning will continue to run his other pub also called the Brickyard (previously the Sunrunner and before that the Assizes) in Hitchin.