Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in line for £1 million revamp

17th August 2017

A £1 million revamp of England’s oldest pub which is aimed at securing its future for the next 100 years has been unveiled.

The team at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans will shortly begin consulting on plans to substantially improve the rear of the property.

The Herts Advertiser can confirm that the historic frontage of the eighth century pub will remain the same, but the plans involve the construction of several octagon-shaped canopies over a rear seating area catering for around 200, which will replace the existing terrace space.

The extension will be sunken in order to avoid it looming over the surrounding area, there will be a new corridor between the kitchen and dining areas to improve speed and efficiency for food servers, and an improved outdoor seating area will be introduced, all with full disabled access.

There will be a new lakeside entrance to the side of the property, and the unsightly skip and waste disposal area which has blighted the pub’s environs for years will be removed, providing a much more visually appealing aspect to this part of the building.

Landlord Christo Tofalli, who took over the pub in April 2012, said the redevelopment was essential to preserve the pub as both a heritage site and a thriving business: “We are restoring the pub and getting it where it needs to be to remain a pub.

“We all know about the challenges pubs face in modern times, and it is pretty terminal if it does not improve.

“What we have been trying to do is make the pub as good as it can be.

“The happy thing is so far we have spoken to quite a few people both businesses and locals and everyone is overjoyed with it.

“We are very pleased not to have found a group that wants to keep the skip we have now.

“Ideally we are just putting the pub in the shape it should be.

“Most importantly, it will keep the original parts as they are.”

Planning consultant Simon Rowberry, who is working on the project, said: “Both Christo and I think it’s important we engage with stakeholders, so we can pass on any views they have.

“We think it’s really important we get as much feedback as possible, and that includes from St Albans council.”

He said the planning application will be submitted later this year.

Over the ages the building has been used as a pigeon house and cock fighting pit, and it is said that Oliver Cromwell stayed a night there during the English Civil War. Recently, it has become a hub for community activity, hosting charity comedy nights and supporting the Save St Albans Pubs campaign, as well as providing a spotlight for local musical talent.