PROPOSALS to turn a village pub into homes will go back before the planning committee tonight (Thursday).
Phillip Woodman, of B.A.B Construction, has applied to convert the Crawford Arms, in Crawford Village, Up Holland, into two two-bedroom homes.
It comes after an application for a two home conversion with detached garages, submitted by Brian Woodman, was refused in May after being called in by former Cllr Ruth Pollock for the planning committee to consider the impact of the change of use of the building.
Councillors decided to refuse it on the grounds it was not in an area designated for market housing, that no supporting evidence was submitted that demonstrates the current use of the site as a pub was unviable, that the proposed parking area was too small and the garages would be overbearing.
An appeal was lodged against the decision, but the application has now been resubmitted due to the emerging Local Plan, which has now reached publication stage, and under which the creation of two homes in Crawford would be acceptable.
The applicant has also submitted evidence that its use as a pub is unviable, applying the objective CAMRA public house viability test.
The pub closed in 2010 and has been on the market since February last year.
And the viability document states that when the initial targeted marketing aimed at pub purchasers received no interest, it was widened to include retailers which generated no interest and the only sector expressing interest was residential developers.
Despite the fact the nearest pub is 1.6 miles away – which would normally warrant refusal on the grounds of lack of alternative provision – the officer’s report prepared for councillors said that it was unrealistic a buyer would invest in a failing pub in this location and that the “community is small and insufficient to support a profitable pub in the current economic climate” and therefore believed the conversion to residential was an acceptable solution for the premises.
For these reasons, along with the removal of the garages from the previous application, the officer’s recommendation is for planning permission to be granted, subject to a string of conditions.
One neighbourhood representation was submitted objecting to the plans, citing widespread discontent in the village about the conversion, that it is a social hub that attracts people from wider areas, and the impact on the social environment of the village.