Bird In Hand Replacement - Still Time to Send in Comments

A company interested in redeveloping the site of the former Bird and Hand is still keen to receive feedback from local people on its proposals before it submits a planning application to Central Bedfordshire Council. They encourage you to visit their website and virtual exhibition at

The Bird in Hand on Dunstable's High Street North closed in November 2018. Two breweries had failed to make a successful business work there. Anti-social behaviour at the pub is said to have been part of the problem.

Local residents tried to rescue the Bird in Hand but the Facebook Group, Dunstable North Community Group, reported on August 9, 2019, “The inside of the property has been well and truly trashed with the Pizza Ovens and Kitchen equipment all stolen. Fires have been started in the upstairs flat and there are now holes between floors. It is simply not viable for us to find the funds a) to purchase the property or b) to refurbish it. ”

There are now plans to demolish the run-down old pub building and provide new apartments with on-site car parking and ample cycle storage space.  The design is for a building with 35 apartments spread over the ground, first and second floors. It would be of a similar height to The Incuba Centre next door. See plans:

Even as late as 20 May this year the Community Group wrote, “Our view is that the proposed building does not provide any space for the wider community to meet, the building looks like something from the cold war and not at all in keeping with the majority of housing around, there are no traces of the long history of the public house on this site, with not even any characterful features on the building.”

The Community Group drew attention to the property development proposed, as we did on News Desk.

On Houghton Regis News Desk, comments included:
“Why? Have some bungalows called bird in hand close or something, just not more rabbit hutches masquerading as flats.”
“Agreed... very ugly”
“Rebuild the pub there's none this end of town”
“ugly modern building totally out of place to the area.”
“Hideous building looks like something out the 60s,and bear in min each tenant is likely to have 1 or 2 cars to that household, where is the parking for all these vehicles as the road is not an option.”
“Get another architect”

On Dunstable News Desk, comments included,
“The height is nonsensical- the road dips down 2 storeys on part of the site, so it will not, in real terms, be the height of Incuba.”
“As Long As It Affordable Homes For DUNSTABLE RESIDENTS and NOT For Economic Migrants/asylum seekers”.

119 comments were made on Don't Let Dunstable Die Facebook Page. These included,
“Has the architect seen the other hideous 60s and 70s building in the town and decided to match them?”
“there are no social venues that side of town. Soon there will be no decent pubs left .”
“Looks like all the other new buildings in character...if only we had buildings of historical importance in the town to take inspiration from......oh wait.....”
“ I don't understand how they are going to fit it all in. I mean gardens as well as parking spaces. Someone has measured it wrong surely”
“... something designed by someone with a degree in playing Minecraft. Could they have come up with a more horrible looking building?”
“Why can we never get pretty buildings in Dunstable??! It is possible to build new builds that are attractive to look at isn’t it?! Other towns seem to manage.”
“More housing far too much urban sprawl in this area enough is enough try getting some decent amenities for the residents you already have ???”
“What a horrible looking building! I'd rather look at the pub as it stands now than look at that monstrosity”

43 comments were made on About Dunstable Facebook Page. These included,
“Theres houses going up across the road. Still more houses going up at the old delco site. Where all the peeps gonna go for a quick pint down the local. Sad times”
“ Use it or loose it and sadly at the moment it's just an eyesore and it will only get worse.”
“I think it’s ugly. So there are going to be 35 flats but only 40 parkings spaces. Most flats will probably have 2 people living in them that drive and as most people own a car, where will the rest be able to park. It will have a knock on effect on surrounding streets which are already full. As usual, developers trying to make as much money out a site without taking into account the effect on local area.”
“Awful eyesore. It would have been better to put a Harvester there or something.”
“Looks like a prison!”

Planning Application

An application for planning permission has not yet been submitted to Central Bedfordshire Council, so there is still time to influence the eventual outcome.

Feedback Still Wanted

Officially, comments through the Mulberry Court website were closed on 31 May, but the website and feedback form is still available and the feedback was still being assessed when Dunstable News Desk contacted the company on 2 June.

A consultation company spokesman said, “I am in the process of preparing a preliminary report now. We don’t intend to take that one [Mulberry Court] off [the website] as we still want to hear from people as the consultation is an ongoing process throughout the application process. People can also contact me directly on my details that are on the website.”

Visit for more information.

Update November 2020 - Application to be decided at Development Management Commitee on 25 November. It has been recommended for refusal however, the Committee is free to make a decision which is not in line with this if it considers there is grounds to do so.
To apply for a speaking slot, you'll need to contact CBC's Governance Services, via email at All requests to speak must be received by 5.00pm on the day before the meeting.
It is essential that you provide an email address and a contact telephone number when you apply for a speaking slot.
To view the plans for the site go to CB/20/01830/FULL


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