44 letters of objection help win a reprieve for Fenland pub although it remains closed

FORTY four letters of objection have helped win a reprieve for a Fenland pub, even though there s no guarantee it will re-open. West Norfolk planners took on board the objectors views when it refused permission for the London based owners of the Woolpack

FORTY four letters of objection have helped win a reprieve for a Fenland pub, even though there's no guarantee it will re-open.

West Norfolk planners took on board the objectors' views when it refused permission for the London based owners of the Woolpack at Walpole Cross Keys who want to demolish it and build nine homes on the site.

Keith Wilkinson, planning officer for West Norfolk Council, said the loss of the public house on Sutton Road would mean the loss of a key village amenity.

"Notwithstanding the principle of losing the village public house, the proposed redevelopment scheme would not respect nor be in harmony with the building characteristics of the locality," said Mr Wilkinson.

He said building nine homes in a small village with no facilities "would fly in the face of that same policy statement in that the new and existing residents would have to travel to adjoining villages in order to get provisions/entertainments".

Mr Wilkinson accepted the pub struggled to remain viable, but said the most recent tenant had to stop trading due to the state of disrepair of the roof.

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"Given the state of the building and apparent lack of maintenance, the prospect of attracting new tenants or an alternative user is extremely remote," he said.

"It could be interpreted that the owners are seeking a premium on neglect. There has been no attempt to market the property or pursuit of alternative commercial/community uses."

Mr Wilkinson held out some hope for the owners, however, suggesting there may be scope to retain the main pub buildings and developing part of the site "with some of the proceeds from the new development financing the renovation of the pub".

Malcolm and Annette Atter took over the pub a year and helped with a revamp but just three months later the building was ruled unsafe and it was forced to close.

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