FENLAND: Councillors throw lifeline to struggling country pub to help it find a buyer

BY JOHN ELWORTHY A COUNCIL has ditched its own planning guidelines to throw a lifeline to a struggling Fenland pub. Fenland District Council Planning Committee voted against their officers conclusions to allow the sale of the Golden Lion at Sixteen Foot

BY JOHN ELWORTHY

A COUNCIL has ditched its own planning guidelines to throw a lifeline to a struggling Fenland pub.

Fenland District Council Planning Committee voted against their officers' conclusions to allow the sale of the Golden Lion at Sixteen Foot Bank, Stonea to go ahead.

George and Mandy Grima were stuck with having to offer for sale both the pub and a neighbouring bungalow they built four years ago in the hope of expanding the business.


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The bungalow was to be used for the couple while allowing the pub to thrive with extra guest rooms and a camp site for visitors.

However councillors heard that the bed and breakfast rooms had never got off the ground and that the pub and bungalow was struggling to find buyers at the combined asking price of £650,000.

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Planners were in no doubt that splitting the bungalow from the pub breached the council's own policies and argued that both should remain to allow future occupants to diversify and make the business more viable.

Councillors decided otherwise, arguing that in the current economic climate and down turn in the pub trade they should allow the couple to sell the pub separately.

Officers argued that the application should be refused since the Grimas' had failed to show the market the surplus bungalow for a minimum 12 month period at a price which reflects the restrictive occupancy condition. It's an identical condition which farmers face if trying to sell off cottages with agricultural covenants.

When permission for the bungalow was given in 2004 it was on the basis that its occupation should be limited to people employed solely or mainly at the pub.

Councillors voted 6-2 to allow the restrictions to be lifted.

Estate agents GA Select say personal reasons have overtaken the couple's plans "and they now intend to move to a warmer climate and let their dream go.

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