Hertfordshire: White Horse pub's £25k outdoor area destroyed in fire

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image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionThe fire has destroyed a new outdoor area built to cater for visitors allowed in pub gardens as Covid restrictions ease

A pub's new £25,000 outdoor area was destroyed by fire a day before it was due to reopen.

Firefighters were called to The White Horse at Tea Green in Hertfordshire at about 08:00 BST.

A message on the pub's Facebook page said it had been overwhelmed by public support since the fire in the early hours, which it described as a "heart-breaking experience".

Hertfordshire Police said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

The "secret garden" area, designed for family celebrations and weddings, had been built as Covid restrictions were relaxed to allow people in pub gardens, and included a children's play area, lights and a fire pit.

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency
image captionFirefighters were called to The White Horse at Tea Green at about 08:00

Signed by "Jon and The White Horse team", the pub's Facebook post said: "In the last few months we have invested over £25k and thousands of hours of work into creating a new Covid-secure outdoor space to serve our customers post-lockdown.

"Our first customers joined us on Monday evening for a sneak peek before our official opening this Thursday.

"In the early hours of this morning our new space and kids play area was set on fire and burnt to the ground."

The message said the pub had been "overwhelmed" by public support, with customers setting up GoFundMe pages to help rebuild the space.

It added: "Thank you for helping us through this heart-breaking experience."

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency

Police said officers were called at 08:30 to a report of a fire in the garden.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue said it was called to the fire at 08:06 and that it had been put out by 09:56.

He said: "Our records show that the fire is listed as accidental however, the cause of the fire still remains under investigation."

image copyrightSouth Beds News Agency

Outdoor drinking and dining was permitted again from Monday for the first time since England's lockdown began on 6 January.

Under government restrictions, venues can currently only serve customers sitting outdoor in groups of up to six people or from two households.

The pub still intends to re-open on Thursday.

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