Village pub looks set to become holiday let

Upwell Five Bells

The Five Bells at Upwell, which looks set to become a holiday let - Credit: Google

A pub looks set to be turned into a holiday let - despite opposition from villagers.

The owners of the Five Bells Inn at Upwell, near Downham Market, say it is no longer viable as a pub.

They have applied for planning permission to turn it into a holiday let for up to 20 people.

The application to West Norfolk council has received 130 objections, while there have also been 73 letters of support.

Upwell Parish Council has not objected, but its submission adds: "The parish council would like to make the borough council aware of the strong opposition from a significant number of local residents to the application to change the use of the Five Bells.

"The pub is situated at the heart of the village, has been on the same site for more than 250 years and attracts and promotes significant traffic from the waterway running through the village."

The Campaign for Real Ale said: "The pub is a vital resource for the community and losing it would be a big loss to a growing village.

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"There are many local examples of seemingly unviable pubs in the area becoming very successful under new management, such as King’s Arms in Shouldham. The increasing strength of support for local pubs is demonstrated by the number of community buyouts in the area."

Another objection states: "The pub is a prominent building in a prominent position that should play a prominent part in the future of the village. It was a key meeting place for the community."

One supporter of the plan says: "The pub was barely used. The building should be put to good use."

Another adds: "It doesn’t get used as a pub currently. It will become derelict and an eyesore if something doesn’t change."

The pub closed down in March 2020. A report to councillors says there are two remaining pubs in Upwell.

West Norfolk's planning committee has been recommended to approve the change of use when it meets on Monday, October 11.