Community calls for scrapping of plans to convert old Thorpe Morieux pub, The Bull Inn, into a house

The Bull Inn

The Bull Inn

Pressure is mounting on a council not to approve proposals to change a former pub into a home.

A community group and the parish council of Thorpe Morieux has rallied together to oppose the plans for The Bull Inn in the village between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds.

But the pub has not traded as one for around a year – instead it is being run as a bric-a-brac shop. Residents are concerned because if the pub was still running they think the planning application needed for the changes to be approved would likely fail – as Babergh District Council wants to protect community facilities.

A planning application was lodged by the bric-a-brac shop to change the use of the building from a shop to a home.

Despite Babergh having made no decision yet on the proposals, the pub has been listed for sale at £425,000 as a five-bedroom house. No one from the business was available to comment.

A letter from the parish council’s clerk, Alan Morgan, said: “The parish council believe the current application may be a cynical use to another business description as an effort to circumnavigate planning requirements designed to protect vital community assets.

“We would urge the planning authority to fully consider the legitimacy of the declared use as a bric-a-brac shop. From the evidence available to parish council members and village residents, the bric-a-brac shop has not been an actively operated business at any stage and that change of use has not effectively been achieved or even attempted.”

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Steve Cowper, 48, from the Friends of Thorpe Bull group, said a “lockout” event would take place tomorrow outside the pub. Campaigners will walk from the village hall to the shop, starting at 11.45am.

“The community would love to buy it. We made an offer which was turned down based on the market rate for a pub – if the building was being sold as a pub it would be on the market for £200,000,” he said.

Planning consultant for the business Phil Cobbold said the pub had been “unviable” for a number of years due to falling trade and that the owner had tried to keep the building in commercial use.