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Marne Inn: Mystery letter urges residents to report noise problems at Thorley Park pub



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Mystery surrounds a letter circulated around Thorley Park urging residents to "form a group" and report noise and anti-social behaviour at one of the estate's two pubs.

The letter, purporting to be from "Thorley Watch", has led to a counter group being set up on Facebook which has seen an outpouring of love from regulars and supporters of the Marne Inn at Thorley Neighbourhood Centre.

The pub came under the spotlight in June when it closed for three days in the middle of the Euro 2020 football championships after police and East Herts Council environmental health officers were concerned over breaches of its Covid-19 safety measures.

Marne Inn owner Aaron Fennell in the covered outside area, complete with football on the TV and a separate bar, in the summer of 2020. Picture: Vikki Lince (49425038)
Marne Inn owner Aaron Fennell in the covered outside area, complete with football on the TV and a separate bar, in the summer of 2020. Picture: Vikki Lince (49425038)

After reopening, tougher restrictions than at other pubs were ordered by the authorities, including social distancing of two metres.

Last week a letter surfaced stating that police were "keen to hear of anyone affected" by noise. It included contact details of two neighbourhood police officers, a named contact for EHC's environmental health team and email addresses for eight councillors.

It ended with a request to contact other disaffected residents in order to "form a group". When the Indie tried to send the group a message it bounced back.

The Marne Inn is at the Thorley Neighbourhood Centre
The Marne Inn is at the Thorley Neighbourhood Centre

The letter spurred Marne Inn regular and supporter Andi Pearce to set up a group on Facebook. Within a few days there had been 50,000 interactions with more than 200 positive comments.

Andi said that Marne owner Aaron Fennell, who is off sick, had reached out to neighbours and was devastated the letter had been circulated.

On Monday (July 19), Bishop's Stortford Town Council leader John Wyllie, who also represents Bishop's Stortford South on EHC, said he was unaware of a Thorley Watch group. Although he knew of the issues during the Euros he believed things had calmed down.

Cllr Wyllie, who lives near the pub, in Honeybourne, said: "At the end of the day the licence trade has been hammered, but I think during the Euros they allowed too many people in."

Marne Inn owner Aaron Fennell was devastated after the letter was circulated. Picture: Vikki Lince (49425000)
Marne Inn owner Aaron Fennell was devastated after the letter was circulated. Picture: Vikki Lince (49425000)

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire police said that after the force asked for general feedback, people were concerned about anti-social behaviour in and around Thorley Neighbourhood Centre as a whole. As a result, it had become a neighbourhood policing priority.

Police were working to address concerns and put long-term solutions in place. Part of that involved encouraging residents to report any issues to them.

During the Euros, police received several complaints that Covid-19 restrictions were not being properly adhered to at the Marne.

"Officers visited local residents to find out exactly what their concerns were and to reassure them that they would be working with the venue to resolve the matter," said the force's spokeswoman.

"Police then worked alongside the council and the pub management, resulting in the remaining games being enjoyed safely and responsibly."



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