It's last orders at the bar for a pub in Maple Cross, the latest in a string to be bulldozed in order to to make room for flats or shops.

The Cross, in Denham Way, joins The Beaver in Watford and The Happy Man in Mill End on the list of pubs closed down and replaced by new developments.

The land, including the car park, was bought from the brewery with the intention of building new homes, although no planning permission has been granted.

Norman Hicks, a patron from Oakhill Road, said: “This is the hub of Maple Cross, it's just got back to being what a local pub used to be. The landlord was offered a deal by the brewery to move elsewhere, but he doesn't want to go.

“There's a lot going on here, we had a summer fete last year with a band and raised £1,100 for the local school and there are darts and pool teams who meet here for competitions too.

“We tried to find out the history of the place, but the internet only goes so far back, we traced it back to the 1700s. There is a lot of history in this place, we found old text books on Rickmansworth and there are pictures of people outside in old clothes.

“There were problems in Maple Cross but they were getting better, slowly but surely the community was being gelled together by this pub.”

The establishment currently employs three full-time bar staff, all of which will have to find new jobs when the pub is demolished.

Malcolm Bird, barman, said: “A company used to own the land but they went bankrupt and sold it. Me and three others will be out of a job, there's nothing else around here so I'll probably have to sign on.”

Three Rivers District Council leader, Ann Shaw, said: "I am stunned that they have just closed The Cross, without any consideration for this community.

"I am appalled that they propose to demolish this locally listed historic building."

Preliminary government plans for a high-speed rail line linking London with Birmingham were also revealed this year, which would involve a huge viaduct being cut through Green Belt countryside south of Maple Cross.

Alison Clark, from Oakhill Close, said: “Everyone forgets about us, they go over the roundabout and Maple Cross doesn't exist.”