Locals joy as planning inspector backs fight to save pub
Village pub campaigners in Framsden, near Debenham, have won a battle to prevent their local being turned into a home.
Village pub campaigners have won a battle to prevent their local being turned into a home.
Framsden Pub Group was opposed to plans to convert the Doberman Inn which closed two and a half years ago.
Now, planning inspector David Spencer has dismissed an appeal by its owner against a decision of Mid Suffolk District Council not to allow it to be changed to residential use.
The villagers mounted the campaign in 2017 to save the pub – in which singing star Ed Sheeran was rumoured to have played one of his first gigs.
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Framsden Pub Group wants to save it as a public amenity, and around 300 people signed a petition calling for it to be retained as a “splendid example of a rural English pub”.
The group hopes to put in a bid to buy it and re-open it as a community concern.
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Member Glenn Buckingham said they were “thrilled and delighted” at the outcome of the appeal.
“As the only facility in the village it should be given the chance,” he said. “We have offered mediation and to work with the owner.”
The Grade II listed, formerly known as The Greyhound, ceased trading in November 2016 on the death of the landlady, Sue Frankland, and was inherited by a relative.
It was put on the market as a commercial pub business and withdrawn for sale six months later in June 2017.
Mr Spencer said although functions were held at the “diminutive” village hall including licensed events, “there is scant evidence these events are held on a regular basis or that the village hall can offer a comparable functionality as a community hub for regular social activity such as drinking and eating”.
The loss of the pub would result in “social and economic harm” to the rural community, he found.
“I observed public houses exist in neighbouring communities in Cretingham, Brandeston, Debenham and Otley but these are all beyond any kind of reasonable walking and cycling distances,” he said.
“It is difficult to see how they comfortably meet the needs of the community in Framsden, as the appellant asserts.
“As such, the permanent loss of the Dobermann Inn would deprive the community of one of its few local facilities.”
He believed “a new operating model could carve out a viable future for the building with tangible social and economic well-being consequences for the local community”, and felt that bed and breakfast accommodation, shop, parcel drop, social events, cybercafe, coffee mornings and an expanded pub garden area were viable options for diversifying the pub business.