March 9 2014 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Hopes of stopping a once-thriving village pub being turned into a house have been kept alive by planners.
North Norfolk District Council’s (NNDC) development committee has voted to defer a change-of-use application by owner Val Purkiss for the Hare and Hounds, on Baconsthorpe Road, Hempstead.
Planning officers had recommended that the controversial application should be granted this time, after a previous rejection which was upheld on appeal, because a pub had become unviable.
A report to councillors said the pub, which closed in 2010, had lost its sewerage system to neighbouring land after discovering it was illegal.
A new one suitable for commercial premises would cost £140,000 to install and another £10,000 every 45 days to empty, according to a quote submitted by Mrs Purkiss.
But councillors decided they wanted independent confirmation of the likely cost and have deferred their decision until officers have the new figures.
Several also felt that the pub had not been marketed well and had therefore not attracted a buyer.
Anthea Sweeney said the pub’s closure was “absolutely tragic.”
She added: “Not many years ago it was absolutely heaving. Since the applicant bought the pub it’s been run down so much.”
Richard Shepherd said the pub used to draw people from far afield. “We need that pub. It’s the only one for blinking miles. It needs to be properly marketed and I don’t think it has been,” he added.
John Perry-Warnes, who supported the closure recommendation, said the current owners were “really not pub people.”
Mrs Purkiss has previously stated that fewer than 20 locals a week used the pub.