Pub refurb hits trouble

PUBLISHED: 12:29 12 January 2007 | UPDATED: 19:54 01 June 2010

Jacqui Owens in the bar at the Hare and Hounds pub

Jacqui Owens in the bar at the Hare and Hounds pub

A FORWARD-thinking landlady has been stopped from building a function room at her pub because, according to Fenland District Council, her plans do not include secure storage for bicycles and wheelie bins. But Jacqui Owens has vowed to not give up on hopes

Jacqui Owens checks in the derelict interior of the building which she wants to turn into a function room.

A FORWARD-thinking landlady has been stopped from building a function room at her pub because, according to Fenland District Council, her plans do not include secure storage for bicycles and wheelie bins.

But Jacqui Owens has vowed to not give up on hopes to transform run-down sheds at the rear of the Hare and Hounds pub from becoming a function room.

"It is so unsafe that one day it will fall down on someone," said Ms Owens, landlady at the Elgoods-owned pub in North Brink, Wisbech.

Fenland Council's planning officers cited a number of reasons for refusing planning permission for the improvements, which involved demolition of outbuildings to make way for a function room to hold up to 70 people.

Their reasons included a lack of storage for bins, and secure storage for bicycles, which they said would leave them out in the open "to the detriment of the character and setting of the building".

But Ms Owens said: "I have quite a large car park at the back of the pub and there is the rugby club car park across the road.

"And I was going to keep the bins in a utility room that was going to be built."

Ms Owens, born in Ireland, grew up in Wisbech before moving to London. She returned to Wisbech four years ago to take over at the Hare and Hounds.

She says a function room will be essential for trade if the pub is going to keep open after the smoking ban in pubs comes into force on July 1.

"There is a lack of function rooms in the town and all I want to do is create an all-purpose room for organised functions," she said. "And when there is not a function, it will be open to customers."

Planning officers also said that the design, and the proposed materials for doors, windows and roof lights, were unacceptable.

The council's development manager Nigel Brown said that even the material to be used for the roof and rain gutters would relate poorly to the listed building.

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