Real ale campaigners have joined a local council in fighting to save the only pub left in a Norfolk village after plans were submitted for a change of use.

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The Queen’s Head in Hempnall, south of Norwich, has been closed for more than four years and the owner Paul Ellis has unsuccessfully tried to market it as a going concern.

Mr Ellis, who has applied for a change of use to allow the site to be used for homes, said the pub was unlikely to be sold and said it would not be viable to reopen it as a pub.

Hempnall parish council has opposed his plans and, as part of the consultation, the Norwich and Norfolk branch of Camra has written to the planning authority, South Norfolk council, to try save the pub.

The branch’s pubs officer Mike Spivey said: “We appreciate that it has been closed for some time but still feel it is fundamentally wrong that a village of this size should be without a pub.

“Demolition and re-development of The Queen’s Head should be strongly discouraged and any application for a change of use is also to be opposed strenuously.”

However, Mr Ellis said: “Very strict, costly and onerous requirements have been made of me, as part of the planning process, to ensure the issues mentioned in the Camra letter and many more, have been fully explored in order for them to determine the viability (or otherwise) of the pub.”

The Evening News has been urging people to return to pubs in our Love your local campaign. To see more stories visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

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