Plans to convert historic pub into café and flat

The car park at The Buck Inn at Thorpe St Andrew is now pay and display. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Buck at Thorpe St Andrew - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

An historic pub could be converted into a café and flat under new plans, which have sparked concerns from the community.

The Buck on Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew is currently vacant, and a partial change of use planning application has been submitted to Broadland District Council. 

Developers are proposing a café with a takeaway function, one flat, as well as a mix of internal and external alterations to the Grade II listed building. Storage facilities would be converted to retail or business units. 

Tim Unsworth, director of Unsworth Architects Ltd, said his client wants the best for the building, and they are waiting for everything to be done correctly in conjunction with planning consultants. 

He added: "We have been given good information from a number of consultants to find a viable and suitable use for the site and we believe we have come up with a plan that does exactly that, and keeps the building alive." 

Ian Mackie

County councillor Ian Mackie, who represents Thorpe St Andrew, wants the plans to be in keeping with the conservation area - Credit: Ian Mackie

But former landlady of The Buck, Patsy Dashwood, who lives nearby, raised concerns over the impact on residents. 

Ms Dashwood, who ran the pub for 21 years, said: "My main concern is they are wanting to put the outbuildings at the front where we live so we will be looking out from the first floor onto a roof.

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"I do not think it should be touched and changed into two properties. It is an old listed building dating back to the 12th century so I think these plans are totally unacceptable." 

The design and access statement for the application says a range of potential units would help reinvigorate an underused asset, while helping generate footfall for existing local businesses. 

The proposed café would make use of the existing public space within the former pub, converting the bar area into a seating and serving space.

And the former kitchen and rear public seating area on the ground floor would be converted into a one bedroom apartment with private access. 

The statement adds: "The proposed works within the pub seek to establish a viable, working community asset to help foster a local hub for informal, social meetings between friends and family, as well as encourage new people to the area and site."

Ms Dashwood said a new café is unnecessary as there is already one located nearby.

Thorpe St Andrew county councillor Ian Mackie said: "It is about ensuring whatever is proposed is in keeping with the area. This project has been over a year in the making and in that time we have had retrospective planning for bollards and cameras.

"I hope this will deliver an outcome that will enhance what is a conservation area, as well as being sensitive to neighbours and the church."

In response, Robert Macdonald, an estates manager at Black Orange Investments, said such cars have no right to park there as it is private land.

He added: "We are trying to give something back to the area. It's been a very run down pub for a long time that has not done well.

"We would still have a licence for alcohol to be sold there for an evening drink.

"It's a beautiful building that has been run down and with all the current restrictions it's going to be even harder to sustain an actual pub.

"We are creating several businesses to employ more people which will bring diversity to the area. Maintaining gorgeous listed buildings is essential."