Great Cornard: Historic pub wins reprieve from the bulldozers

AN HISTORIC Suffolk pub could be saved from the bulldozers after planning officials responded to protests from a local community.

In May, residents of Great Cornard rallied against plans to demolish the 18th Century Highbury Barn in Canhams Road after the pub’s owners, Punch Taverns, applied to Babergh District Council for a demolition order.

The campaign stepped up a gear when the company filed a subsequent application to build a supermarket on the site. But now Babergh has taken steps that could save the landmark building from demolition.

The district authority’s planning department received prior notification of the proposal to demolish the Highbury Barn in August. Although planning permission is not usually required to demolish a building, the applicant still needs prior approval from the council for the method of demolition, to ensure it is carried out in a safe way and does not leave an “eyesore”.

In response to a consultation exercise by Babergh, a petition was received signed by 310 people seeking to save the building, which they consider to be an important community facility as well as a building of historic significance.

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Babergh has now served an Article 4 Direction which essentially removes the rights to demolish the building without the applicant gaining planning permission. The consultation period for the supermarket proposal ends on November 16 and if a formal application for demolition is received, then both proposals will be considered together by Babergh’s planning committee.

Cornard councillor Peter Beer said: “Following the consultation on plans to demolish this building, we are left in no doubt that the future of this much loved building is something local residents feel very strongly about.

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“As a direct result of the feedback received, we have now taken action to ensure that anyone interested in the proposals that have been put forward for Highbury Barn will have every opportunity to get involved and have their say.”

He added: “As always, the views of local people help us to shape our communities and provide a valuable insight into what is important.”

A formal decision on the plan could be made by the end of the month.

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