Country pub 'hampered' by coronavirus could be converted into home

Grade II listed The Ivy House at Stradbroke, near Eye, is for sale. Picture: Simon Parkin

Grade II listed The Ivy House at Stradbroke, near Eye, is for sale. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

A Stradbroke pub made "unviable" by the coronavirus pandemic could be converted into a home under new plans.

The landlords of the Ivy House, Egil and Sue Stenseth, listed the pub for sale with an asking price of £365,000 in June last year after deciding to retire.

The husband and wife couple had managed the business for 13 years after previously running the Queen's Head at Brandeston.

However, no buyer for the pub has been found and the owners have now submitted proposals to Mid Suffolk District Council seeking permission to convert the Grade II-listed property into a home.

In documents submitted to the council, planning agents Hollins Architects said the pub had suffered a "heavy decline in trade" over the past few years, owing to a change in drinking culture and the competition between pubs in the area.

This includes the White Hart pub in Church Street, less than 200m from the Ivy House.

But the applicants said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic had "significantly" hampered the pub "beyond the point of return", with the long-term prospect of job retention unlikely.

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The decision to submit proposals to convert the pub into a home had been taken following a "lengthy" marketing campaign that had attracted little interest - prompting Mr and Mrs Stenseth to conclude the business was "clearly not attractive to potential purchasers".

Planning documents submitted with the proposals said: "Although the established use of the site is for a public house, the business operation has ceased in recent months following a heavy decline in trade over recent years.

"The current Covid-19 pandemic has hampered business potential significantly, confirming the unviable commercial position beyond the point of return.

"Furthermore, due to the steep economic demands and indeed sharp fiscal downturn through the Covid-19 pandemic, rural public houses are not necessarily conducive for job retention and creation.

"The wet and dry trade market is incredibly unstable, and none more so than a time like now.

"We are living in unprecedented times, and the public house trade is far from secure.

"The idea of job creation on site through a public house use is demonstrably unsustainable, and highly susceptible to local and national decline."

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