Village pub vet plans set to be refused following public backlash

Six Bell's Inn Gislingham

The Six Bell's Inn, Gislingham, has been under threat following a planning application to turn the pub into a vet's and pet shop. - Credit: Google Maps

Plans to turn a village pub into a vet's surgery look set to be refused planning permission following widespread backlash from the community.

Proposals to convert the Six Bells Inn, Gislingham, into a vet's, pet supply shop and accommodation were met with fierce defiance, with one local saying the plans would "rip the heart out of the village".

The pub has been closed since the sale of the site to the applicants, as they believed that the running of the Six Bells was financially unviable.

The application was originally submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council in November 2021, with planning officers now recommending that the plans are refused permission at next Wednesday's (March 23) development control committee.

Gislingham Parish Council is in the process of applying for an ACV (asset of community value), to protect the pub from further planning applications.

Despite the reaction to the plans, the planning statement for the project said: "The proposal would be of benefit to the community overall, renewing a previously underutilised space for an alternate commercial use, providing employment opportunities and a valued service to the residents of Gislingham, Eye and the surrounding areas.

"It was made clear by the previous owners that the running of the Six Bells Inn public house was not financially viable. This was also confirmed by Savills.

Most Read

"Despite years of investment, the site as a public house was no longer financially viable prior to Covid-19 and the situation had worsened since the pandemic."

The planners' report which will be presented to councillors outlines the reasons for the recommendation. It says: "It is considered that the use of the building as a public house would provide a valued local facility which would support the needs of the residents and future residents of the village of Gislingham.

"No other public house is located within the village of Gislingham for alternative use by its residents, insufficient marketing has taken place to demonstrate that there is not an opportunity through selling the property to continue its use as a public house and no economic evidence has been submitted to show that the business could not viably operate from the site.

"Further, there is significant public interest in retaining a public house within the village of Gislingham."