Agenda item


The Chairman introduced the first application of the evening, application number 143218, for change of use of public house into 1no. dwelling including removal and replacement of existing extension, update front and rear windows, and install patio doors - resubmission of 142444 – at Marquis Of Granby, High Street, Waddingham, Gainsborough. The Committee heard from the Officer that since the report was published, two further objections had been received from residents of 2 Millstone Way, Waddingham and The Elms, High Street, Waddingham. He summarised these as follows:


·         The village needs a public house, now more than ever, and people value a centre where they can socialise.

·         Detrimental impact on the look and feel of the village centre to have new properties built in that location. Some comment are made regarding three storey design but this relates to a different adjacent application within the pub grounds.

·         It is unclear why this application has been submitted. The applicant should have appealed the previous refusal.

·         The applicant makes claims that are not material considerations namely one additional large house is not significant to the needs of local people. Smaller starter or family homes are needed for the rural community. The adjoining development is already providing two large houses; it is unclear how the site is highly sustainable; proper maintenance of the building would not have led to a situation whereby its appearance would be improved by the proposal; antisocial behaviour linked to the empty property is not evidenced; the pub also served food. It is not a material planning consideration to make assumptions about how the pub will be operated; window refurbishment costs need to be met regardless of the outcome of this application; repair costs are inflated and cheaper alternatives may be available and could be phased; internal layout changes are not a reason for non viability; It is disingenuous to put forward the costs of refurbishing the kitchen as a reason for non viability of the pub as this is ultimately a decision based on the business model to be adopted; the cellar has always been damp and had water ingress and this is due to local land levels; water used to bubble up through the car park; previous tenants claimed the cellar kept the beer in good condition.

·         It is the owners responsibility to maintain the building. This is how tenants and customers are attracted. This has not been the case for this pub.

·         The village hall serves different community purposes and is not suitable for pub use without significant structural changes that would affect current users renting the space.

·         The addition of other services is a matter for operators to consider.

·         During the consultations around developing a neighbourhood plan many alternative streams of revenue were considered such as hosting rural based events. The potential to develop a proper community hub was considered. This avenue was closed when outline planning permission was granted for residential development in the pub grounds.

·         Waddingham Parish Council has no significant capital assets and is not permitted to accrue them without reference to its residents.

·         In conclusion the viability of the pub should not be based on the submission of a shopping list for refurbishment and maintenance due to the negligence of current owners/tenants to do so. There is nothing in the application that suggests any demographic or needs analysis has been undertaken


The Officer confirmed that these comments did not change the recommendation.


The Chairman stated there were two registered speakers, one to address the Committee and one who had submitted a short statement to be read aloud. He invited the first speaker, Mr J Benson, to address the Committee. Mr Benson made the following statement.


Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent my client at this evenings meeting. I would like to give thanks to the Council in their support throughout the planning application process which has enabled us to receive a recommendation for approval.


Planning Application 142444 was refused on 6th April this year for the same development put forward today as the Council stated that insufficient evidence was provided to evidence the fact that the public house was no longer fit for purpose or an alternative use has been sought or that there is provision close by. Despite the disappointment of this outcome we have provided all the necessary evidence from various technical specialists to confirm that the use of the building as a public house is no longer viable.


In short, to bring this building up to modern day standards to operate as a public house would cost in the region of £390000 and combined with the purchase price means that this has immediately put off any potential suitors.  Seeking alternative community uses, taking away the costs of a new kitchen and bar facilities, would still be extraordinarily high. Even if the establishment was 'wet-led', and doesn't serve food but relies entirely on the sale of drinks for its business these are wholly unsustainable in rural locations as well as many urban centres.  There has been a systematic change in the culture of pub use over the years and there is a clear shift that an establishment that is a ‘vertical’ drinking destination in a village with circa 600 people would not be successful. Given the relatively low population of the village and that of the wider geographical area, presence of nearby long standing and established public houses with continued support, there is no consistent customer base to sustain such a business in the area.


The building has been empty since 2019 and despite being actively marketed, there have been no firm expressions in purchasing the business as a going concern.


Despite objections to the proposal, the community have been less than forthcoming in looking to actively work together to obtain the necessary funds to purchase the building and use it for a public house or another community asset. In other parts of the country, where there has been a real passion from a local community to retain a public house, they have been active in pursuing avenues to move things forward in a proactive manner. However, the very nature of the objections show that they feel the onus is very much on the applicant which is totally unreasonable. There is simply no realistic chance that the building could have a future use which would further the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community and the Council now support the recommendation to change the use of the building.


To be successful, a public house needs regular customers to sustain it and for example, simply relying on weekend visits or occasional visits is not enough to allow a business such as this to be economical. No one is denying that public houses are not of fundamental importance to village / rural life but the most successful pubs are those that are supported by the local community which enables them to thrive. There are now 10000 village halls throughout the UK that operate as village ‘hubs’ and English Rural (a specialist provider of community led and affordable rural homes) provided a Report on such ventures. Given the size of the village hall, this could easily be utilised for a mixed use arrangement but the community and Parish Council need to work together to make this happen.


Other material planning considerations such as heritage, highways, physical alterations and residential amenity were all supported in the previous application and remain so in this proposal.


If the Officers recommendation for approval is not upheld today then we will all leave this meeting knowing that the building has no future and its appearance and condition will continue to decline with an ever increasing threat of anti social behaviour looming due to the absence of occupation. I fully appreciate that the loss of public houses in villages is a highly contentious but I hope that you look at the bigger picture here and support the recommendation for approval.”


The Chairman thanked Mr Benson and invited the Democratic and Civic Officer to read the statement provided by Wendy Waite. The following statement was read aloud.


“I wish to register to be represented at the meeting to discuss the above. This is an asset of community value and should not even be considered for change of use because of this.”


With no further comments from the Officer, the Chairman invited Members of the Committee to speak, The Committee sought clarification as to whether the premise was registered as an asset of community value, and, if it was, whether the community had been afforded the opportunity to make the purchase, as was expected. It was confirmed that it was an asset of community value, the community had been afforded the opportunity to purchase the building however no offer nor arrangement had been made. Therefore the application as presented to the committee had been made.


There was significant discussion regarding the importance of pubs in rural communities and the impact of, not only a global pandemic, but the practices of breweries prior to any covid-related lockdown. It was acknowledged that significant outlay would be required to enable the pub to trade again, or indeed for the building to be used in any community sense, and that the building was in a poor state of repair.


Having been proposed and seconded, the Chairman took the vote. It was agreed that permission be GRANTED subject to the following conditions.


1. The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.


Reason: To conform with Section 91 (1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).


2. Prior to their installation, joinery details of any new external windows and doors shall have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Development shall proceed in accordance with the approved details. No subsequent alterations or replacement of these items shall take place unless planning permission has first been granted by the Local Planning Authority.


Reason: In the interests of securing good design in accordance with Policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


3. Prior to their use in the development, details of external finishing materials for the rear extension shall have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Development shall proceed in accordance with the approved details.


Reason: In the interests of securing good design in accordance with Policy LP26 of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.


4. Development shall proceed in accordance with the following approved drawings:

004 Rev 01

005 Rev 01

103 Rev 01


Reason: For the sake of clarity and in the interests of proper planning.

Supporting documents: