A pub landlord has launched a petition to get his car park marquees reinstated after they were banned.

The Spread Eagle pub in Northcourt Road, Abingdon, has been Grade II listed since 1971.

Landlord Nicholas Crawford said marquees he has erected in the pub car park for the past three summers have now been refused permission by Vale of White Horse District Council.

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But he is contesting the decision and has launched a petition on change.org calling for drinkers and other people to support the marquees.

He said: "We applied for permission to use the marquees for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons, from May to October, and we invite a local singer to come along.

"In the summer, it's hot inside the pub so when the marquees are up it gives people the chance to sit in the shade.

Oxford Mail: A marquee in the car park

"I'm hoping to get 1,000 signatures on our petition, as I'm appealing against this decision."

Mr Crawford and his family have run The Spread Eagle for the past 17 years, and he ran The Boundary House for 10 years before that.

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He added: "We want people to come here and enjoy a good conversation.

"There is room for about 20 cars in the car park but room for only about six when the marquees are up so you could say it will lead to fewer emissions. I think we will still get the local singers in anyway, even if we can't have the marquees."

It's not the first time Mr Crawford has been subject to a ruling from planners that has affected the way his pub is run.

Oxford Mail: The Spread Eagle in AbingdonIn 2021, Mr Crawford was told that outdoor dining pods worth £60,000 were no longer considered 'Covid-safe'.

New Government regulations required outdoor dining areas to be open to 50 per cent of the air, and the council told Mr Crawford he could no longer use his booths. The booths have since been reopened.

The petition says: "For three years, our local pub has been a hub of community spirit and camaraderie, thanks to the marquees we set up in the car park.

"These marquees have allowed them to enjoy each other's company while savouring food and drinks in the fresh air. They have become an integral part of our summers, fostering connections among family and friends.

Oxford Mail:
"However, the council has recently ruled against their use for six months of the year. This decision not only threatens our cherished tradition but also seems unjust when many other pubs are allowed marquees within their grounds."

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The petition adds: "We believe that it is crucial for our community in Abingdon to maintain these spaces where we can gather safely and enjoyably.

Oxford Mail: "We urge you to join us in calling on the council to overturn its ruling against marquee use in our pub car park.

"The council during Covid shut down our outside pods which left our customers with nowhere to go. Should they be allowed to do this again?"

A spokesman for Vale of White Horse District Council said: "The Spread Eagle public house is a Grade II listed building located in the Abingdon Conservation Area.

"Last year, marquees were erected in the pub’s car park without the necessary planning permission.  Following an enforcement investigation, a retrospective planning application to retain the marquees was submitted. 


"The design and material of the marquees that were erected were inappropriate for the conservation area and have an impact on the surrounding listed buildings.  The harm they would cause to the character and appearance of this heritage site meant the application was contrary to local and national planning policies and therefore the application was refused.

"We have offered the landlord advice on what he can do to stay within planning regulations, including, subject to some constraints under permitted development, reducing the number of marquees down to one. We are very keen to support local publicans and recognise the importance of the pub trade to the local area."