North Norfolk District Council planners set to save Hare and Hounds pub at Hempstead from conversion into home

11:57 15 September 2012

The North Norfolk District Council offices at Cromer.

The North Norfolk District Council offices at Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY


A north Norfolk village pub looks set to survive another bid to turn it into a home.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) planners are being recommended to refuse an application to convert the Hare and Hounds, at Hempstead.

The move would please parish councillors in nearby Baconsthorpe and nine residents who have all written letters strongly objecting to Valerie Purkiss’s application.

A similar bid was refused and dismissed on appeal in 2008. This time council officers again say that they have not been persuaded that the pub, which closed in 2010, is not viable.

A report to Thursday’s development committee said Mrs Purkiss had failed to show that for at least a year she had used all reasonable efforts to sell or let the property at a realistic price.

Its disappearance, according to the report, would result in the loss of an important social and community facility.

Objectors have pointed out that the pub was the last one serving Baconsthorpe, Hempstead, Plumstead and Matlaske.

Baconsthorpe Parish Council’s objection said the owners had “made it fairly clear” they intended to shut the pub eventually, opening times were “erratic” and the council refuted suggestions that parking was a problem, saying the pub had a large car park.

In a letter supporting her application, Mrs Purkiss said they bought the pub in 2005 but were forced to shut in 2010 and had only kept it running as long as they did by subsidising the business from their own funds.

They had appealed for public support following their 2008 change-of-use application but it had failed to materialise.

“We rarely reached 20 locals a week, even in the summer most of our custom was from tourists,” she said.

The business had been on sale for four-and-a-half years and the undisclosed price had been lowered but enquiries had only come from those who wanted to convert it into a home and no offers had been made.

She also blamed the pub’s isolation and factors including competition from supermarkets selling cheap alcohol, the drink-drive laws, recession and cost of fuel which had all helped drive many pubs out of business.


  • Every pub needs to move with the times, think outside the box and diversify. There are pubs in the middle of nowhere doing great.....its about being businesslike, simples.

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    Saturday, September 15, 2012

  • Surely this is a commercial decision and therefore not one for the Council to make. You can prevent someone from applying for change of use but you cant make them keep the pub open if it cannot make a profit. Bunch of wallies. The pub will sit there like the one in Hempnall getting scruffier and scruffier because no-one will buy it as a pub and turning the village in an eyesore. But please let's not have the Councillors buying it. They couldn't run the proverbial in a brewery so even less in a pub!

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    Sunday, September 16, 2012

  • sorry 'of' should be 'off'.

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    Saturday, September 15, 2012

  • Should be returned to a pub - wasn't many years ago that this was a thriving village pub but had been run down. Can't point 100% of blame on the owners though, I should imagine many of Baconsthorpe's residents hardly used the place. . . .

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    Callum Ringer

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

  • OK Jeffy - simples is it - of you go Mr Confidant and show your £- no idea!

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    Saturday, September 15, 2012

  • Callum - as your comment trails off it sums it all up..................

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    Saturday, September 15, 2012

  • Decisions like this are so difficult but should a council have the right to decide that someone should work forever to support something that is not viable - even perhaps until their grave. If the pub were to be closed the owners would still be liable for Busines Rates to be paid from nil revenue - how can that be fair - thanks to Gordon Brown for that. Perhaps the refusal of beneficial use could be argued - serve a Purchase Notice on NNDC and see what happens. If you own something then you really should be able to do what you you wish with it within limits but not be made to work forever. If NNDC thinks this pub is viable then buy it - Breckland bought a golf course. If they can see a return of 5% net it must be good deal for the tax payer.

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    Saturday, September 15, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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