Plans for house on pub car park face refusal

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PLANNERS are recommending refusal of plans to build a house on the car park of the only pub in a remote East Coast village.

The owner of the George and Dragon in Holmpton, which is currently closed, is seeking planning permission for the house and garden on the car park.

But Holmpton Parish Council describes the pub, which is at least 200-years-old, as a “great amenity” and says for it to function it needs a car park.

However the applicant says the plans, to be discussed next Monday, will allow the pub to diversify.

A separate application is seeking approval to make the pub a “community hub”, changing the dining and seating areas to rooms for community use, including village shop, Post Office and meeting room.

In a submission to planners the applicant says the pub has been for sale for two years without a single prospective buyer.

It adds: “The market recognises there is generally no interest in village pubs per se and that they can only survive by maintaining a thriving restaurant side whilst at the same time offering flexible use of the premises.”

It claims that money generated from the house “would realise capital for development and realise the vision of bringing the food service back into the heart of the pub and to generate income and trade through flexible commercial use of the extension”.

However, planners say they do not think it is realistic to suggest that the sale of the new house would keep the pub open and say that it would “detract from the open and rural character of the village”.

Holmpton has only had the one pub since the late 18th century. In 1823 it was called the Man’s Head, before changing to the George and Dragon.

A man answering the phone yesterday said it was closed for the “forseeable future”, adding: “We are a remote country pub and with the recession and the general economic climate business has grown more and more difficult over the past few years.”