Thorpe Morieux: Ruling will help protect Suffolk village pub

A PLANNING inspector has overturned a council’s decision in a bid to protect a village pub.

The owners of the Bull Inn in Thorpe Morieux, near Bury St Edmunds, applied to Babergh District Council last year to amend planning permission that meant the neighbouring The Old Orchard could only be occupied by someone employed at the pub.

The two-bedroom detached house, which is considered to be the same property as The Bull, was originally built to help lower staff costs and ensure the public house’s future.

But Carol Gibson, who bought the property in 2007 and works alone, asked Babergh planners to change the permission to allow her to sell the house, claiming that revenue at the pub failed to cover the mortgage on the pub and accommodation.

Miss Gibson, whose application was supported by a petition of 20 people from across the district, said the smoking ban, cheap alcohol from supermarkets and competition from the village hall threatened the pub’s “viability”.

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However, council bosses ruled there was “no evidence” to support Miss Gibson’s claims and said the original justification for the building of the dwelling remained.

But after an appeal, a Government-appointed inspector has now ruled that Miss Gibson should be allowed to sell The Old Orchard, which has stood empty for two years.

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The inspector, who commended Miss Gibson’s service to the community despite annual losses of about �10,000, said due to the “unprofitable nature” of the pub, The Old Orchard could only be used if planning permission was changed.

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