An appeal has been lodged against Broadland District Council’s decision to refuse permission for a planning application for a change of use of The Crown from a public house to residential.
The Planning Inspectorate, based in Bristol, has accepted the appeal by Mr G Monk, who has submitted revised plans to turn the pub in Ollands Road, Reepham, into a five-bedroom residential dwelling.
The Planning Inspectorate will now determine the matter on the basis of a written procedure in which it will only consider written evidence from the Appellant (Mr Monk), the Council and anyone else who has an interest in the appeal.
In its planning committee decision on 27 February 2013, Broadland said allowing a change of use of The Crown would result in the loss of a community facility and a local business, and would reduce customer choice for both eating and drinking facilities within Reepham. It would also mean the loss of several jobs, which would have a direct impact on the local economy.
The Crown has been up for sale for more than two years on the basis of existing use. The owner, Punch Taverns, is trying to sell around 400 pubs across the country this year in an effort to reduce debts of more than £2 billion.
It is understood that no one has yet come forward with an acceptable proposal to buy The Crown on an existing use basis. According to the property agents, several other offers had been received, but these have all been for residential use.
The Monks maintain that the proposed change of use is in accordance with both local and national planning policy.
They suggest that the pub’s sales have “declined significantly” over the past two years and that The Crown is no longer a viable business, adding that every attempt has been made to market the property as a public house for “a considerable period with no interest, including other uses that could occur as ‘permitted development’.”
Further, the loss of The Crown will assist the continued viability of Reepham’s two other drinking establishments in the town centre, the Monks stated in their appeal.
The Planning Inspectorate is now inviting comments on the appeal, which must be submitted in writing (three copies) by 18 June 2013 to: The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/09 Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN, quoting the appeal reference number APP/K2610/A//13/2196244.
Failure to comply with this deadline and procedure will mean that your view will not be taken into account. Note that any written comments will be made known to the parties involved and copies will be sent to the Appellant and the Council.
Meanwhile, attempts are being made to place The Crown on a Community Asset Register for Reepham. This was discussed at the Annual Town Meeting on 22 May and would give parish councils and community groups time in which to organise a bid to save the asset. However, it would not prevent the owner the right to sell to anyone and at any price at the end of a six-month period.
Reepham Town Council will consider setting up a Community Asset Register at its next meeting on Thursday 13 June at 7.30 pm in the Town Hall.
See our earlier stories:
Reprieve for The Crown as planning application rejected
Plans for The Crown to be turned into housing
Fight starts to save The Crown