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Campaigners toast pub closure victory

PUBLISHED: 23:33 07 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

By Patrick Lowman

REAL ALE campaigners have welcomed a decision to prevent a popular town pub from being converted into a large house.

Keith Allchin, landlord of the Flying Fortress on Bury St Edmund's Moreton Hall estate, wanted to convert the pub into a house amid fears the area is to become over-developed in the future.

By Patrick Lowman

REAL ALE campaigners have welcomed a decision to prevent a popular town pub from being converted into a large house.

Keith Allchin, landlord of the Flying Fortress on Bury St Edmund's Moreton Hall estate, wanted to convert the pub into a house amid fears the area is to become over-developed in the future.

But members of St Edmundsbury Borough Council's development committee rejected the application on the grounds the Flying Fortress, which was converted into a pub from a farmhouse 14 years ago, is a thriving amenity that should not be lost to the community.

Officials from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) last night welcomed the decision to save the pub from closure.

CAMRA spokesman John Gagen said: "We think this is brilliant news and we have been working extremely hard to ensure the pub stays open.

"More houses are being built in the area and in the future will go right up to the boundaries of the pub. As more houses are being built this means the pub, which is already popular, has not even seen its finest hour yet, so we couldn't ever understand the application in the first place.

"We must fight to keep rural pubs open and more importantly encourage people to use them"

The news has also been welcomed by St Edmundsbury district councillor Mike Ames who said: "I am very pleased the pub will be kept open because it has been one of Bury's success stories ever since it opened.

"It has been featured in the CAMRA good beer guide for at least 10 years and it is a thriving business and very important to the surrounding community.

"This is a victory for the social well-being of Bury St Edmunds. In this day and age we should be fighting to keep all rural amenities open, not letting them close, I am delighted."

But a disappointed Mr Allchin is preparing to appeal against the decision.

He said: "I am very disappointed, the council officers recommended that my plans were approved because there are other similar amenities nearby. There are plans to develop in this area on the draft of the local plan and the word is there will be major developments in this area in the future. We don't want to run a pub which will become just another estate pub. We will consider are next move carefully and will probably appeal against the decision."


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