Threat to Lazy Otter suddenly becomes real

The Lazy Otter in Stretham is currently closed.

The Lazy Otter in Stretham is currently closed. - Credit: Supplied

A bid to turn the historic riverside pub The Lazy Otter into a house is under way.  

The long-expected application was lodged last week with East Cambridgeshire District Council. 

Within the application is an appeal for the council not to ask for evidence of it being marketed for a year “to justify its closure”. 

The owner’s agent, Peter Humphrey Associates, believes this has already been done. 

The company says his client bought the Stretham pub after it had been market “a considerable period and with the intention to change its use to a dwelling”. 

As, such, the company claims, “a marketing exercise is not deemed to be required for the application”. 

However, the pub has not fared well on TripAdvisor, 100 of the 450 customer reviews rating it as poor or terrible. 

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A petition begun by Georgina Radford to stop the closure has so far attracted nearly 800 signatures.  

“The Lazy Otter has many happy memories for our family,” she says. 

“I am sure we are not the only ones who have taken advantage of this fabulous riverside pub. 

“The pub was a great place for families to gather with a park for the children and gorgeous riverside views.” 

She added: “I do not want to lose this fabulous asset to our community and invite you to sign this petition to prevent the current owners from changing the pubs use to a private home.” 

The application by Rita Walsh for change of use points out there are plenty of other pubs nearby.  

She says the Red Lion at Stretham, for instance, is only 2.5 miles away, with the Three Kings at Haddenham and the Cherry Tree Haddenham both within a five-mile radius.  

She also says the Five Miles from Anywhere No Hurry Inn at Upware is 6.5 miles away.  

Peter Humphrey Associates say if approved the site layout will remain unchanged as no major alterations to the building itself are proposed.  

And on a positive note, he believes that reducing cars going to a public house off a main road “will significantly reduce the traffic movement in/out of the access being retained.  

“Therefore, highway safety will be increased as part of this application.” 

22/00022/FUL is the planning application reference on the council website.  

The pub has changed its name over the years, history books recalling that in the late 18th century it was known as the Charles in Oak. This referenced a local legend that King Charles once hid in an oak tree nearby to escape Cromwell’s soldiers.  

It became The Lazy Otter in April 1987.