Holton pub change of use refused amid villagers’ fears vital community asset would be lost

Roger Barnes, front, and his son Jay with Holton villagers outside the Lord Nelson, in Mill Road, in

Roger Barnes, front, and his son Jay with Holton villagers outside the Lord Nelson, in Mill Road, in 2010. Picture: ANDY DARNELL - Credit: Archant © 2010

A landlord's bid to convert part of a historic pub so it could be used solely as a bed and breakfast has been rejected amid fears villagers could forever lose one of their last remaining community facilities.

The Lord Nelson in Mill Road, Holton. Picture: ANDY DARNELL

The Lord Nelson in Mill Road, Holton. Picture: ANDY DARNELL - Credit: Archant © 2010

Hilary Mynott and her partner Roger Barnes bought The Lord Nelson in Holton, near Halesworth, in 2010 with the aim of reviving a venue that had been derelict for years.

'We spent an awful lot of time and money on extensive modernisations,' Ms Mynott told Waveney District Council's planning committee tonight.

They included a two-storey extension at the side and the rear of the listed building in 2012.

But Ms Mynott said: 'Sadly, we didn't get the support we were expecting,' with monthly theme nights bringing in the punters but not profits.

Roger Barnes pictured outside the Lord Nelson in Mill Road, Holton in 2010. Picture: ANDY DARNELL

Roger Barnes pictured outside the Lord Nelson in Mill Road, Holton in 2010. Picture: ANDY DARNELL - Credit: Archant © 2010


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For the past year they have run it just as a B&B and applied to the council for a change of use from a pub to residential and bed and breakfast use, so they could build extended living quarters for themselves.

But several residents wrote to WDC in protest, with Chris Whymark, of Bungay Road, Holton, saying: 'We feel that to grant this application will make it more difficult for the village to ever have a pub again.'

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Alison Cackett, a ward councillor for the area who also sat on the planning committee which made the decision, said: 'It is the last community building we have in the village, apart from the village hall.

'Once that goes, we'll have nothing. I'm concerned that once a change of use is granted, we'll never go back to having a pub.'

One couple also wrote to the planning committee to say they had indicated an interest in buying the pub last year and would still be interested in doing so.

Michael Hart, from Holton Parish Council, said of the change of use application: 'It would have a long-term detrimental effect on the village.

'There is a clear concern from residents about losing the pub.'

Many councillors expressed unease at the application, with a majority voting to refuse it on the grounds that a community asset would be lost.

However planning officer Richard Amor said there was no guarantee the site would reopen as a pub in the future.

And councillor John Groom said: 'I just don't think these pubs are viable.

'A pub needs to be packed every night to be viable. It is a business, not a charity.'

What do you think? Email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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