May 20 2013 Latest news:
Donna-Louise Bishop, Reporter
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Plans to see a historic pub transformed into shops and houses in the heart of a north Norfolk Georgian town have been submitted.
Originally built as a coaching inn in the 18th century, The Railway Tavern in Holt was bought by developer Capricorn Estates Partnership on August 2 this year.
And now ambitious plans have been submitted to North Norfolk District Council which would see the Station Road pub turned into shops and six new homes.
Developer Rupert Kirby said he planned to achieve a “sensitive and attractive scheme” for the town centre.
“It will create housing in the mid-market housing range,” he said.
“If the planning permission is accepted then I hope the development would be finished by late 2013 to early 2014.”
The new owners bought the Grade II listed building from leased pub company Punch Tavern, who had served notice on the existing tenant to vacate the pub.
A spokesman from Punch Taverns said: “It is always our priority that our pubs continue to trade as pubs. However, after exploring a range of options, including an investment, we have been unable to establish a viable route for the Railway and a decision was made to sell the pub.”
The pub is positioned in the shopping mecca’s prime retail centre and conservation area but trade at the pub has been in steady decline since the smoking ban was introduced in 2007.
In a planning and heritage statement put together by Raven Land Management it revealed that the building’s use as a pub had not been viable for some time, which meant it had fallen into a state of disrepair.
The report added: “There are significant structural defects afflicting the building - mainly centred on the roof structure and chimney stacks. There is also cracking and leaning to one of the walls in the converted barn to the rear of the property.”
The new plans would see the building split into six homes, including two flats, with the ground floor being turned into retail use.
The look to the front of the building would remain almost the same and the developer is exploring the option of relocating the town’s Tourist Information Centre into the building, coupled with a display for Holt Museum Trust.
Of the six new homes proposed one would be less than 70 sq m and two would be capable of adaptation for occupation by the elderly or disabled.
They would be make-up of five, two bedroom properties and one, three-bed, with one parking space per property and a storage unit on the east side of the courtyard for bicycles.
The closure of pubs is not an experience unique to Holt as nationally a number of them close every week and within the town itself around 12 pubs have been lost within the last 80 years.
Holt Town Council mayor Bryan Payne had not seen the proposed plans in their entirety yet but was aware that a development had been thought about.
He said: “They want to develop the yard so they could not have had a pub there at the same time really, but again, there will be another pub going in the town.”
He hoped that the town council would know more about the plans before their next meeting on November 12.
Chairman of Holt Chamber of Trade, John Lintott, added that his initial reaction made him feel “disappointed” that Holt would be losing “another traditional pub”.
He said: “A town the size of Holt should have three or four.”
● We want to hear from you. Do you have fond memories of drinking at the Railway Tavern? What do you think of the new plans? Email your stories, thoughts and past photos of the pub to email@example.com.