Hempstead pub could serve drinks again after planners refuse to approve change-of-use application
17:59 15 May 2014
A village pub in Hempstead could serve drinks once again after planners voted today to refuse a change-of-use application to convert it into a home.
The Hare and Hound closed in 2010 and has since remained empty because owner Valerie Purkiss said there had not been enough customers for the business to remain viable.
The applicant had also said appropriate drainage for a commercial business like a pub on that site would have stretched to £65,000 per year.
Mrs Purkiss, who lives nearby, said no one from the local community had contacted her since she closed the pub.
She said: “It was never used by the parish council and it is not big enough to make too much of a profit.
“We have been totally unable to get the trade and support from the local community.”
She also said because the pub had been empty for four years, it would need a lot of work to allow it to reopen.
The application had previously been deferred to have figures submitted by Mrs Purkiss for a new sewerage system - which she said would cost £140,000.
They were deferred again in April this year to allow Baconsthorpe Parish Council to have its say.
And the plans had been recommended by officers for approval at a North Norfolk District planning meeting today.
But councillors voted to go against the officer recommendation and refused the planning application, suggesting more could be done to sell the pub and explore other drainage options.
Councillor Mike Baker said they needed to think carefully about making a quick decision which would throw away the pub’s 225-year history.
He said: “As far as selling property I would make the case that it is quite impossible to fail to sell anything.
“It is too expensive, it is as simple as that. If you put something at the right price you will sell.”
Mr Baker said he first visited the Hare and Hound in the mid 1960s. He said: “I stopped using it because became not a nice place to go and have a drink, certainly not a nice place to go and eat.
“Sometimes it was closed and that made me think we are going to see this have an application for a house. It has been deliberately run down.”
Mrs Purkiss said she would be appealing the decision.