Stonham Parva: Mid Suffolk approves motel vision for The Magpie Inn by A140
Proposals to build a motel by the A140 have been backed by councillors to help boost the economy and keep a well-known pub business viable.
The plans for the 25-bedroom motel, which would be built next to The Magpie Inn in Stonham Parva, near Stowmarket, were approved unanimously by councillors in a Mid Suffolk District Council meeting earlier today.
Ivan Richardson, chairman of Stonham Parva Parish Council, said there had been a “number of concerns” over the proposals. “We appreciate that the applicant has made considerable alterations to the design of the building, becoming more in keeping with the historic nature of the Magpie Inn,” he said.
“However there are a number of questions that have come up in a recent parish meeting.”
There was concern the already busy A140 would be flooded with extra traffic coming to and from the development and that, despite the changes, the motel would create a “major visual impact” next to the pub which dates back to the 15th century. Parish councillors also had reservation that new motel signs, which could be built, would detract from the existing pub sign, which hangs over the road and is a landmark.
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Philip Cobbold, agent for the developer, said the future of the pub, which is currently closed, rested on bringing more trade to the area.
“Statistics from the Campaign for Real Ale have said that 25 pubs are closing every week in the UK, if (the motel is) approved it will prevent the Magpie from becoming another one of these statistics,” he said.
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In 2012 a planning inspector dismissed earlier proposals at an appeal as the motel development would have had an “adverse” effect on the pub and surrounding countryside. A council planning officer told Mid Suffolk councillors this morning the revised plans had reduced the scale of the motel and that the “benefit now potentially outweighed the harm.”
Roy Barker, Mid Suffolk councillor for Badwell Ash, said: “The first design was a pig’s ear, this one is much more acceptable. They have listened to what the inspector has said.” He said the council needed to think about boosting economy going forward.