Monday 22 July 2024
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Plans for village pub to become homes

A Nottinghamshire landlord plans to turn his village pub into homes after his electricity bills hit thousands of pounds a month.

Christopher Jessop, 59, has applied to turn The Gate Inn, in Sutton cum Lound, near Retford, into two semi-detached houses and a garage.

He said he went through a “horrific” time during the pandemic and sold his home in an attempt to keep the pub running.

The plans have been recommended for approval by Bassetlaw District Council.

But 80 residents and the parish council have objected to the plans to convert the pub which one councillor described as “quintessential” in the village.

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They said once the pub is gone, it will be “lost forever”.

Council documents say the local community is “unfortunately all too familiar” with the difficulties in running the pub, after a group of residents who owned the pub previously had to close it due to financial issues.

Mr Jessop, who has owned the pub for four years said: “We’ve propped up the pub with our catering business but after a while you can’t keep throwing money at it.

“My electricity bill now is horrendous, and it used to be £500 a quarter and it’s now £2,600.

“We’re having to turn lights off in the day to save electricity if there are no customers in.

“I sold my house to keep it running, it was horrific during Covid.

“A lot of the customers are older people and they’re scared of going out after the pandemic. They’re also worried about their own bills.

“It’s been one thing after another and I think it’s the same with most pubs. It’s not sustainable.

“There’s a lot of opposition because everybody wants a pub, but they only want to go out at Christmas.”

He said he originally wanted to turn the site into a shop, but planning officers preferred housing. If the plans are approved, he will live in one of the houses with his wife.

But residents who objected to the plans said: “The Gate Inn is an asset to the community and the village doesn’t want to lose its pub.

“Further residential development and loss of community focal point will destroy the traditional character of the village.”

They also raised concerns over dust and noise and highway safety.

They added: “The applicant’s claim that the pub is not supported by local people is untrue and examples are meals being booked by local groups and local quiz nights.”

Sutton cum Lound Parish Council and the local Village Hall Committee also objected to the plans, saying that the site is not listed for development in the Neighbourhood plan.

They said the building is “important to the local community and deemed a key
amenity to the village”.

District Councillor Denise Depledge (Con) added: “The retention of the pub is a quintessential element to the village and against the ethos of the Neighbourhood Plan and detrimental to its character.

“There is already a large amount of new residential development in the village and the business should remain as a going concern and sold on if necessary.”

Council officers wrote in a report: “There is a clear desire for the public house to be retained within the village and differing views and evidence have been put forward of the vitality of the business currently.

“However, the applicant has submitted details of financial accounts showing the decline of the business over the past three years and a loss in the last financial year to March 2022. Details of marketing of the property for the past 12 months have also not resulted in any buyer interest.”

Bassetlaw District Council will decide on the plans on August 31.

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