Replacing pub with houses ‘effective re-use' of site

Woadmans Wisbech up for demolition

Woadmans at Newton and Wisbech. The photo is from the tourism website of Fenland District Council. Council officers believe it should be demolished and replaced with housing. - Credit: Fens Tourism

Planners want to allow a village pub to be demolished and replaced with four houses.  

That’s the recommendation of officers from Fenland District Council to the planning committee on July 28. 

The Woadmans Arms in High Road, Newton, near Wisbech, closed in 2017 and Fenland planners say they are content it was marketed for sale as a pub without attracting buyers.  

Ironically the pub remains on the Fenland Council’s own tourism website, being described as a “friendly local – pool and darts played”. It adds the pub was named after woad that was grown locally.  

"The site is considered as an infill plot, representing the reasonable and effective re-use of a brownfield site,” says a report to councillors.  

The pub was sold last year for around £135,000. 

Paul Farenden, who lists the pub as his address, wants to knock it down to make way for two semi-detached and two detached homes. 

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The parish council says it is concerned about parking and argue that four houses is “over development” 

Objections also included the claim that no one was consulted when the public house was offered the sale, thus preventing residents having the chance to buy and retain it.  

Cllr Sam Clarke says the application does not mention the mobile home that is on site now.  

Cllr Michael Humphrey said:  "I note a comment that the pub closed due to lack of trade. 

“In fact, the premises was tenanted by the same family for many years, at least 60, with the previous tenants' parents and only closed when Wendy was not well enough to continue.  

“I remain unconvinced the property was marketed well, the report says no local advertising, surely local village pubs normally go to local people. 

“I also take issue with the price; this should have been available to local interested parties for an affordable price to maintain it as a village pub." 

However, Fenland Council says the “marketing campaign and the summary of interest received is proportionate”.  

Twelve objections have been received, many concerned about highways issues. 

Another says the pub closed “closed due to the incapacity of the tenant and no opportunity was given to seek a new tenant or purchaser”.