Pub owner’s home plans to regenerate King’s Head Inn at Pulham St Mary thrown out

A pub owner has been warned his redundant village pub could be bought by a Norfolk council to bring it back into use unless he can get it running again himself.

South Norfolk Council's solicitor Stuart Shortman warned a compulsory purchase order (CPO) could be made by the council on the King's Head at Pulham St Mary after the council's planning committee yesterday rejected an application by the pub's owner Graham Scott to build six new homes to fund the dilapidated pub's restoration as part of an 'enabling development.'

Earlier, planning officer Helen Mellors had told the committee the owner had not done enough to test the market for potential buyers for the pub prior to submitting the plans.

Mr Shortman said: 'It is my opinion that this pub does not need to be out of use and I don't know why it has been out of use for so long.

'Officers will need to consider a CPO at the appropriate time. The applicant has already been forewarned. It will enable the council to sell the site at a price the market can bare, but it may not be the price Mr Scott would have sold it at.'

The inn was placed on the market in 2010 with a �225,000 price tag, but failed to attract a buyer and Mr Scott argued the only way to afford the restoration and refurbishment needed to the Grade II listed 17th century building was to build the six detached homes with garages and private driveways.

However, the plans angered residents, with 26 writing objection letters to the council to complain the homes would be overdevelopment and cause increased traffic on village roads, while the 3.7m wide entrance to the site between the pub and the outbuilding would not be able to cope with traffic.

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Many villagers were also concerned about the impact on their neighbouring homes, which are also listed buildings.

Jill Halliday, who lives in a neighbouring property, told the meeting she was concerned about the entrance, which would take up part of the pub garden and said Mr Scott had rebuffed offers to buy the pub.

She added he had also invested in a pub in Ipswich, which was money that could have been spent on the Pulham St Mary pub. Her other main objection was the development was outside the village's development boundary and in a conservation area.

She said: 'It will absolutely damage the village of Pulham St Mary without any recognisable benefit to the village.'

However, Mr Scott said the majority of the villagers supported his plans and reopening the pub would create 20 part-time and three full-time jobs within the village as well as creating work for local traders, such as the butchers.

He argued the entrance was wide enough to fit a fire engine from Norwich and claimed home builders Saffron Housing would be prepared to build on the site.

'This application will give the village what it wants, a trading pub that is sustainable,' Mr Scott said.

He bought the pub in 1993, but it has been shut for more than three years.

However, councillor Margaret Dewsbury said: 'Looking at the building you could really say it would be a fantastic building. It would be an asset to the village. Looking at the access, I don't think that it is acceptable and the development is outside the development limits so I am not sure of the viability.'

Following the meeting, Mrs Halliday said: 'We are relieved at the decision after a long process. Something must be done about the pub. It is a central village location and the building's seriously deteriorating and ruining the aspect of the village.'

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