April 24 2014 Latest news:
By RICHARD BATSON
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A battle to save a closed north Norfolk village pub looks to have been lost - with planners set to let it be changed into a house.
A previous bid to convert the Hare and Hounds at Baconsthorpe sparked objections over the loss of the rural watering hole near Holt and were rejected by councillors, and on appeal.
But the latest plans are being recommended for approval because the cost of installing and emptying a new cesspit made a pub venture unviable.
The inn has been shut since 2010 - two years after the initial attempt to turn it into a house.
At the time, councillors felt the owner Val Purkiss had not proved the pub had been marketed as a business, or shown it was unviable - and the pub should be kept as a community facility.
The latest plans submitted to North Norfolk District Council give more information about trying to sell the pub, with agents saying there was no significant interest.
And a report to councillors says the pub had lost its previous sewerage system into neighbouring land, after discovering it was illegal. A new one would cost £140,000 to instal and another £10,000 every 45 days to empty.
The change of use application continues to attract objections from Hempstead and Baconsthorpe parish councils, along with 20 letters from the public.
Concerns including the loss of the last pub providing a meeting point among four neighbouring villages, and claims the owners did not want to sell the business, and had mismanaged a thriving business.
Previously the owners said fewer than 20 locals a week used the pub.
Planning officers say that while it had “not been conclusively demonstrated” the property had been market for at least a year, the foul drainage issues meant the business was “no longer viable.”
Development committee councillors will tomorrow, Thursday, be recommended to approve the conversion subject to more detail about sewerage and parking.