Couple told they can’t turn The Ship Inn into housing despite Manea pub having to close due to lack of trade

13:38 01 July 2014

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.

Archant

A couple has once again been told they can’t turn a pub, which closed due to a lack of business, into housing.

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.

Landlord Wayne Bishop and his wife Tracey took over The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea, in 2003.

But its remote location, increases in beer tax, cheap supermarket alcohol and the smoking ban brought trade to a standstill, making it “no longer financially viable”.

They put the pub up for sale in October 2010 but, despite their best efforts, could not find a buyer.

In July 2012, they applied to Fenland District Council for permission to convert the building into a five-bedroom house but, despite support from Manea Parish Council and residents, their plans were rejected.

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.

At the time, a planning inspector said the pub was still “viable” and attracted punters from all over the country.

Nearly two years on the pub has closed, prompting the couple to ask once more for permission to convert it into a five-bedroom house.

But their plans were rejected by Fenland District Council’s planning committee, last Wednesday.

In their planning application, the couple said: “Since the last planning application was submitted, The Ship Inn has had to stop trading as it was making a loss that we could no longer sustain.

“Evidence has also been provided to show that the business has been marketed by an agent who specialises in the sales of licensed properties for in excess of 18 months.

“During that time the property was marketed nationally, with no offers received.”

However, a report by planning officers said: “The current submission indicates that the premises has not been marketed since early 2012 and it again fails to include an independent viability assessment.

“The earlier marketing campaign is not doubted, however questions remain unanswered regarding whether the asking price was appropriate for the premises and whether the pub could potentially prosper in the future under existing or an alternative ownership.”

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