Fri, 03 Feb 2017
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.