Great Cornard: Protesters claim victory after council rejects supermarket plans for Highbury Barn pub
PLANS to demolish an 18th Century pub and build a supermarket on the site have been thrown out by Babergh District Council.
National chain Punch Taverns had submitted an application to the local authority to build a �1million store on the site of The Highbury Barn in Canhams Road, Great Cornard.
In May, campaigners rallied against the proposal and collected more than 300 signatures on a petition which it presented to the council last month. Babergh took immediate steps to save the landmark building from demolition, by serving a direction which essentially removed the rights to demolish the pub without the applicant gaining planning permission.
However, campaigners suffered a further blow when Punch Taverns subsequently closed the pub and boarded it up a fortnight ago.
But a decision notice from Babergh’s corporate manager for development, Christine Thurlow, has just been published on the council’s website stating that the supermarket application has been refused. This is because allowing for a supermarket to be built following demolition of the pub would be contrary to planning policy, which aims to retain “important local features in all new developments and conserve heritage assets”.
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Ms Thurlow said: “In the absence of a compelling case for demolition, the visual amenity and cultural heritage of the area would be significantly impacted.”
Residents campaigning against the pub demolition and supermarket plans have hailed the decision a victory, but they have now resolved to push to get the pub reopened.
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One of them, Gavin Fance, whose grandparents ran the Highbury Barn for several years, said: “We are very pleased with the application being turned down by the council without it even having to go to a full committee meeting. While there is still a chance that Punch Taverns could appeal the decision or change the plans, we feel that Babergh has taken notice of the concerns of local people and that means a lot to us.”
Cornard Parish Council also opposed the supermaket plans. Last night, a spokesman for Punch Taverns said: “The site is no longer viable to trade as a pub. It will remain closed whilst we review a range of options.”