Appeal to turn village pub into residential property dismissed

Framsden pub

The Doberman pub in Framsden - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A planning inspector has again rejected an attempt to turn a village pub into residential property.

The villagers of Framsden, near Debenham, have been strongly in favour of keeping the Doberman pub while the owner has been trying to change its use to residential.

The pub ceased trading in 2016 on the death of the landlady Sue Frankland and was inherited by a relative. 

Mrs Frankland’s daughter, Julia Coulthard, has tried to sell the Grade II listed building, now known as Asbach House,  and has said that selling the building is essential to settling her late mother’s estate.

A new appeal to the planning inspectorate has ruled against the plans to become residential as "the harm that would be caused by allowing development, would be of greater significance".

In Framsden there has been a pub since the 1700s and many of the residents want this to continue and a campaign first mounted in 2017. 

Mid Suffolk District Council had accepted the outlook for the public house is currently not viable and subject to declining trade. 

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However, in line with its supplementary planning guidance, the council said the building owner should show they had tried diversifying their business. 

Mrs Coulthard sought professional advice which outlined that there would be little prospect of establishing the public house as a destination in its own right, particularly in the context of letting rooms.

While the gastropub business model was not explored in detail, it was found that works to the existing building, including its expansion to provide more covers, could be "cost-prohibitive".

The latest decision from the planning inspector said that: "While collectively there would be a range of benefits associated with the proposal, the harm that would be caused by allowing development, would be of greater significance.

"This leads me to an overall conclusion that the appeal scheme would not accord with the development plan, when considered as a whole, and I find that the adverse impacts of the proposal are matters of considerable weight against the grant of planning permission that outweigh the claimed benefits."