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Plans to turn pub into housing resubmitted

Decision on future of White Hart in Hamstead Marshall due next month

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Last orders for Hamstead Marshall pub?

CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a West Berkshire pub into housing have been resubmitted despite being refused last year.

New proposals have gone in to turn the White Hart in Hamstead Marshall into four houses, after the owner of the pub – Stella Coulthurst – said it was economically unviable.

The 16th-century inn has been shut since September 11, 2015, and a group of villagers have been campaigning since then to try and prevent the pub going for good.

Many of the people objecting to the plans are worried about the impact losing the facility would have on the community.

The original application was turned down by West Berkshire Council in April 2016, to allow more time for bids from anyone interested in taking over the running of the pub.

But with no ‘realistic’ offers having been received, the decision has been taken to resubmit the plans.

In the planning statement accompanying the application, it says: “There has been a lack of interest and no offers reflecting a realistic price for the leasehold have been forthcoming to demonstrate that the reopening of a public house would be economically viable.

“Consequently, the building is genuinely redundant and the change to a residential use would not result in a subsequent request for a replacement building.

“The residential conversion of the buildings would be the only means to secure a viable future for the brownfield site, which will ensure the essential upkeep and maintenance of this prominent building in the village.”

The pub was recognised by West Berkshire Council as an ‘asset of community value’ last year.

The chairman of West Berkshire Campaign for Real Ale, Richard Scullion, previously told the NWN that it was a “lovely community pub that should be put ahead of developers”.

West Berkshire Council is due to make a decision on the application on March 9.

Residents have until February 10 to have their say on the resubmitted plans.

You can do so by visiting the West Berkshire Council planning page at http://publicaccess.westberks.gov.uk/online-applications/ and typing in reference number 17/00103/FULD.

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Article comments

  • Bombey

    03/02/2017 - 12:12

    The problem lies in the fact that the owner of the pub only want to lease it to a tenant. Who knows what the owner considers a 'realistic price' for the leasehold. I t is a tried & tested way of turning pubs into houses.

    Reply

  • NoisyNortherner

    03/02/2017 - 09:09

    Unfortunately for CAMRA, country pubs are subject to market forces just as much as any other business. If there isn't the level of trade required to keep the pub viable, then converting it to housing at least makes good use of what is clearly a distinctive building. Sad as this may seem, the alternative would probably end up with the site falling into disrepair and eventually being torn down as "structurally unsound".

    Reply

    • thepublandlord

      03/02/2017 - 10:10

      a great shame , but unfortunately correct. These lovely pubs are very expensive to run and need footfall, not just talk. Sadly its use it or lose it.

      Reply

      • anorak

        03/02/2017 - 12:12

        'Use it or lose it' - absolutely correct, but it wasn't used because it was terribly managed, with a disregard to both staff and customers alike. It appeared to have aspirations of being a 'poncey' restaurant, but never made the grade. When you turn up for a pre-booked Christmas meal, and no seasonal dishes are available, something is obviously not right!

        Reply

        • Bombey

          03/02/2017 - 14:02

          something is obviously not right! - yes it was June

          Reply

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