Concerns over homes plan on pub site

CELIA WIGG Villagers are opposing the latest proposals to "downsize" their only pub and build two houses on the site. The revised scheme to make alter-ations to the King's Head at Pulham St Mary, near Harleston, has been submitted by owner Graham Scott.

CELIA WIGG

Villagers are opposing the latest proposals to "downsize" their only pub and build two houses on the site.

The revised scheme to make alter-ations to the King's Head at Pulham St Mary, near Harleston, has been submitted by owner Graham Scott.

His previous application would have seen part of the pub converted to create an additional house, and was rejected last year by members of South Norfolk Council's planning committee.

One objector, Sheila King, is leading the initiative to convert the Pennoyers School, opposite the pub, into a community and education centre.

She said: "There is a general feeling that this scaled-down scheme is just as damaging for the village. It is such a shame that we are going hell for leather to get funding for a village centre when at the same time the other local amenity is going to be downsized.

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"We are going to lose the beer garden, which is going to be used for car parking, and the play area at the rear, which was one of the attractions for families in the past. There are going to be two houses either side of the pub, the current kitchen will go and another will be squeezed in."

Resident Chris Burridge is concerned that fewer people will use the pub if the scheme is approved.

"I accept it is his pub and he can do what he wants, but I think this is the thin end of the wedge. People are worried that we could end up with no pub in the village."

The Campaign for Real Ale's Norfolk and Suffolk branch opposes the scheme, and a council spokesman said they had received 18 letters of objection and none in support. The concerns include the overall impact on village facilities, loss of amenity, and issues relating to the pub bowling green.

However, Mr Scott stressed it was not his intention to close the pub.

"I want to reintroduce food - it's an investment the King's Head really needs in order to compete, and they [the villagers] are really lucky that they have someone with the expertise and the money to do it."

Mr Scott said the objectors had "misconceptions" about the planning application and wrongly assumed he wanted to de-licence the pub.

"That will never happen as long as I am here. My investment will save the pub," he added.