Fresh bid to turn 18th century village pub into housing as appeal is lodged by owner

The Dog and Partridge pub in East Wretham, which could be turned into homes. Picture: Bill Smith

The Dog and Partridge pub in East Wretham, which could be turned into homes. Picture: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith

A bid to turn an 18th century pub into housing could be revived at appeal.

Martin Turver, owner of the Dog and Partridge in East Wretham, saw a planning application to use the pub for residential purposes knocked back by Breckland Council earlier this year.

Officers from Capita, the council's outsourced planning department, refused the plans in June, partly on the grounds that the pub would be a loss as a community facility - with the nearest pub some three miles away.

However Mr Turver, who took over the pub in 2006, has now lodged an appeal against the decision with the Planning Inspectorate, taking the pub's fate out of the council's hands.

In refusing the original application, Capita's case officer Mark Simmonds said the decision was a finely balanced one, but that Mr Turver needed to provide further sales and financial evidence to justify the change.

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Mr Simmonds gave particular stock to the views of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which felt the venue on Watton Road could still have a future as a pub.

Mr Simmonds said: "The objection from CAMRA, national experts, does bring significant doubt as to whether the public house has done as much as it can to remain open, along with residents' comments that the pub is not open regular hours."

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As it stands, the pub, which is in a grade II listed building, opens from 4pm until 11pm Monday to Friday, noon until 11pm on Saturdays and noon until 3pm on Sundays - according to its website.

Jeff Hoyle, CAMRA's pub protection officer for West Norfolk, said: "We think every effort should be made for the pub to stay open and we believe with the right people in charge it could have a future."

Should the appeal be successful, Mr Turver plans to continue living in the domestic quarters of the pub, but will enter further discussions with planners over whether the building should remain a single home or be subdivided into more than one.

Planning papers submitted with the application say at one stage the site consisted of four separate, but joined, cottages.

Mr Turver said he was unable to comment until the appeal had been resolved.

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