Row erupts over delay in decision over plans to convert Angel Pub in Debenham into home

The Angel in Debenham.

The Angel in Debenham. - Credit: Archant

A pub could face closure after Mid Suffolk District Council took too long to decide whether proposals to convert part of it into a house should be approved, it is claimed.

The owners of The Angel, in Debenham, have launched a withering attack on the council (MSDC) for failing to progress the plans within the targeted eight-week window.

But Philip Isbell, Mid Suffolk’s corporate manager for development management, claimed the delay had come because late financial information had been submitted. And when it did arrive this was “limited” information, Mr Isbell added.

Instead of waiting for the council to reach a conclusion, the owners have taken their case to the Planning Inspectorate. A letter to the inspectorate in the name of one of the owners, Stacey Paine, said: “This (taking the proposals to the inspectorate by way of an appeal) will certainly mean the future of the building is undecided for several extra months. This prevents the applicants from marketing the property to potential pub tenants.

“Their current tenant is able to terminate her tenancy in April 2015, and it is rumoured she will not wish to renew. This will lead to the public house being closed, preventing the provision of the community facility and causing huge financial damages to the applicants. This is hugely disappointing considering the instrumental nature of MSDC in getting to this situation.”

The proposals, which would formalise the part-house conversion of the pub, sparked controversy when they were first put forward last year.

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Mr Isbell commented on the community concerns. He said: “We are concerned that the alterations proposed in this case would not safeguard the retention of a valued community facility as part of a strong rural economy and would have adverse effects upon the setting of the adjacent Grade-II* listed building and the residential amenities of the occupants.”

The owners said they had addressed the financial questions with “expert opinion” and a report.

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