House plan could resolve Ploughshare pub saga

A revised house-building proposal has been tabled in a bid to end the twisting planning saga affecting the future of a village pub near Dereham.

The owners of the Ploughshare in Beeston have applied for outline permission to build a four-bedroom, barn-style house on the pub's beer garden.

It is the latest in a series of plans submitted by developer Robert Scammell since buying the property in 2009 with the intention of using the income from new housing to subsidise renovations to the 17th-century inn.

Initial plans for three houses at the site were scaled down to two, and then to one – with the most recent plan rejected by Breckland Council in October.

The pub successfully reopened in December but opposition to the house plan remains, with some villagers saying it could affect the viability of the pub and create the potential for disturbances to the occupants of any new housing.

But Mr Scammell believes the revised plan – which relocates the house further away from the pub and screens it with hedges, shrubs and trees – will overcome the objections.

A planning statement submitted on his behalf says: 'Mr Scammell is determined that the grant of consent for a residential development on the site will, on the contrary, ensure the long-term viability of the public house.

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'His intentions have been made clear by the fact that he has already invested in some internal refurbishment to allow the pub to reopen.

'There are no suggestions that the viability of the pub will be affected by the proposed loss of some of the pub grounds.'

The closest part of the planned house would be situated 14 metres away from the pub. The application states the proposal would increase designated car parking space and provide a dedicated beer garden and external function space.

It also says a precedent was set by Breckland Council in December when permission was granted for a similar scheme to build a new dwelling in the grounds of the Red Lion in Caston in order to maintain the viability of a key local service.

Letters of opposition to the Ploughshare plan include one from Beeston Parish Council.

'The members still feel that the proposed development would lead to objections from the new resident caused by noise and nuisance from the pub,' it says.

'The removal of the garden area means that the only outside area is to the west of the pub which has already caused complaints from nearby residents, not necessarily because of the noise, but because of the language used by the customers.

'It is considered that these problems would be detrimental to the long-term viability of the pub which the parish council is pleased to note is now open and seems to be very successful in its present format.'

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