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165-year-old pub partly demolished without permission could become homes, developer reveals

PUBLISHED: 06:30 19 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:45 20 October 2019

The Ark Pub in Thetford being demolished. Picture: Marc Betts

The Ark Pub in Thetford being demolished. Picture: Marc Betts

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A business which knocked down part of a historic pub without permission says it hopes to build housing on the land.

The Ark Pub in Thetford being demolished. Picture: Marc BettsThe Ark Pub in Thetford being demolished. Picture: Marc Betts

The Ark had stood in Thetford for the past 165 years, but in August work started to knock down the 1854 building following its closure in June.

But after an investigation by Breckland Council revealed no planning permission had been sought for the work, it was halted, with owners Chippy Capital Limited agreeing to submit a planning application.

The company has now said it will soon submit a plan outlining a housing development.

A spokesman for Chippy Capital said: "We are shortly going to make a full planning application for a fully affordable housing development as there is such a shortage of affordable housing locally and for local people.

Demolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc BettsDemolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc Betts

"The Ark itself had been trading negatively for many years, it was uneconomic to continue and that's why the brewery sold it.

"I understand that all interested parties that tendered for The Ark wanted the site for different uses and that the agents didn't receive a single bid from anyone that wished to purchase it to continue using as a pub."

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The announcement comes as a petition is launched by resident Anita Stevens, 51, to bring the pub back into use.

The Ark Pub in Thetford being demolished. Picture: Marc BettsThe Ark Pub in Thetford being demolished. Picture: Marc Betts

She said: "I set it up as so many pubs in Thetford have closed down, and The Ark was part demolished without proper planning permission."

At the start of the 20th century, Thetford had 31 pubs but now only four of those remain.

Planning permission is also being sought for two former public houses, The Dolphin and Kings Head, to be turned into housing.

The petition has so far been signed by more than 120 residents.

Ms Stevens added: "There are so many houses being built but nowhere for people to socialise and Thetford is turning into a ghost town.

"I moved to Thetford in 2012 and it was classed as a town which was getting bigger. Regeneration was word used due to completion of A11, however all I can see is loss of many businesses and pubs."

Breckland Council will consider Chippy Capital Limited's application when it is submitted.

To sign the petition go to www.change.org/p/breckland-council-save-historic-building

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