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Winterbourne Arms owners seek major conversion

Application for two three-bedroom homes and smaller pub on site

Charlie Masters

Charlie Masters

charlie.masters@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

07964 444701

Winterbourne Arms owners seek major conversion

The owner of the Winterbourne Arms has made a new bid to convert the property, while retaining a smaller pub on the site.

The application marks the latest chapter in a saga that has polarised the village of Winterbourne.

Mr Roffe purchased the pub in 2018.

His refusal to reopen it – despite the assurances of the previous owner that it would continue to serve the village – provoked a local backlash.

A number of residents made representations in favour of the pub, urging that planners refuse Mr Roffe's plans to close it.

They stressed the need for community facilities in their small village.

The Planning Inspectorate ruled against the owner in January, a decision that appeared to put the conversion on hold.

Justifying the refusal, inspector Benjamin Webb said: "I see no reason to believe that the pub played anything other than an important role in village life prior to its closure in 2017, offering a place to meet and socialise.

"The extent to which the use was valued is indeed clearly reflected in the high level of public representation made in relation to the planning application, and further submissions made in relation to the appeal."

The new application, lodged on August 20, sets out plans to convert the Winterbourne Arms into two three-bedroom dwellings.

It also makes provision for a smaller pub on the site.

Mr Roffe has repeatedly asserted that the pub is not economically viable in its current form.

The latest proposals seek to balance the applicant's commercial interests with the demands of local people for a common social space.

Mr Roffe states: "In order to secure the long-term future of the site and building and ensure it can continue to have a community role within the village, attract custom from a wider area and be a viable public house going forward, consideration needs to be given to how the site can be adapted to serve its current use and be sustainable and economically viable.

"A thorough understanding of the importance and significance of the site and the existing building has been used to inform proposals that are 'heritage led' and influenced by the values and characteristics of the wider setting.

"An important local architectural landmark and historical feature will be retained and restored and will continue to make a significant contribution to the village.

"The opportunity to develop the site, in a considerate manner, creates a chance to revitalise the public house use giving it the prospect to achieve a viable and sustainable future in which to continue to provide a community facility.

"The development will have a positive impact as it secures the long-term sustainable future of a community asset and secures the future of an underused and vacant site."

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