Uproar as plans put in to turn Suffolk pub into vets

The Suffolk pub is on the market with Savills for �325,000. Picture: SAVILLS

The Six Bells Inn is facing permanent closure and conversion into a vets. Picture: SAVILLS - Credit: Archant

Turning a community's long-established pub into a vets will "rip the heart out of the village", according to residents battling to save it.

Although the Six Bells Inn, Gislingham, is currently closed, there has been big backlash following the submission of plans to change the use of the building into a vets, with a pet supplies shop and accommodation above. 

The planning application, submitted on November 22, has already received 49 letters of objections from people desperate not to lose their village pub.

One comment said: "This pub has served the village for many, many years, through ups and downs, peacetime and war. We should not allow the indifference of the last landlords to cause its demise.

"MSDC (Mid Suffolk District Council) have a duty to listen to the residents of Gislingham and protect our village pub."

Another added: "A pub is a vital asset to a village. The Six Bells has fulfilled this function for hundreds of years and is now the sole remaining pub in the village.

"To lose it will rip the heart out of the village."

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Many of the objections also question whether a vets is needed in the village. One said: "There is no requirement for another veterinary practice in the local area. I am a local resident and I use Debenham vets (15-20min drive), we are extremely happy with our veterinary practice and would not move.

The Six Bells pub in Gislingham is up for sale. Picture: SAVILLS

The planning permission has been met with wide-spread anger, with many objecting to the plans. Picture: SAVILLS - Credit: Archant

"I am also aware of a number of people who use Stowe vets who also have a great reputation and there is no shortage of appointments if needed, therefore there is no need for additional veterinary services."

However, 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.

"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 Parish Council has called an extraordinary meeting of the council, due to the fact that the application was applied too late to be discussed in their November agenda. The meeting will take place on 13 December at 7pm, in Gislingham village hall. 

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