Plans to convert historic Bressingham pub to B&B thrown out

Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Plans to convert an historic village pub into a boutique B&B were rejected after a council heard not enough evidence had been provided the pub business was no longer viable.

South Norfolk Council's development management committee threw out Michael Knox-Johnston's proposal to change the use of the Chequers Inn in Bressingham after deciding the 17th century property had not been marketed properly.

In particular, the committee members believed the pub had not been advertised at the correct price, while concerns were also raised the premises had not been marketed for long enough.

The controversial application has attracted opposition from 67 villages, who signed a successful petition to have the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), which gives the residents a period of time to prepare a bid to buy.

Chris Trett, case officer with council's planning department, advised the councillors the ACV registration would need to be taken into consideration during its deliberations, adding it was 'unfortunate' the ACV application had not been submitted when the pub was being advertised.


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Paul Davey, chairman of the Friends of Bressingham Chequers committee, set up to save the pub, told yesterday's council meeting the pub had a history dating back to the 18th century and was a 'social hub' within the village.

He added: 'The central status of the building to village life would be lost due to the proposal.'

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Mr Knox-Johnston said the property, which closed in 2009 after a devastating fire and reopened briefly in 2012 as a gastro pub, had previously been up for sale at auctions, but attracted no interest.

He added it was only after he bought the pub at auction in February that there was interest from the local community when businessman Mervyn Lambert, who runs his own plant hire, sales, rental and servicing firm, tabled a £225,000 offer to buy the pub and run it as part of his business portfolio.

A separate application for listed building consent for the pub was approved. What do you think of the plans? Email dominic.bareham@archant.co.uk.

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