The owners have put considerable effort into making the last application appear to offer a lifeline to the School House Inn. However, the details do not appear to support the School House anymore than their previous applications.
The key point is that they continue to apply for change of use of the property into housing.
It has been stated, in both the application and the local media, that there is scope in this application to retain a ‘micro-pub’ for the locals. The owners have persuaded some that this is a compromise. We say it isn’t because:
- A micro-pub would not satisfy the needs of the local population. We are an outward looking and welcoming group of people who enjoy sharing a drink and good food with our friends in other villages, towns, counties and countries. We don’t want to be cut off from the rest of the world just for the sake of retaining a small room where we can get a pint.
- Families live on the Marishes. When the pub was open, it could support our family occasions, Sunday lunches, walks to the pub for a pint and a squash. Even some of our children have worked there for their first jobs.
There are wider issues to consider:
A micro-pub in a rural location could only ever have a limited patronage. Selling only drink, it would not attract families or large groups and there would always have to be a designated driver to get most people to the pub without even the comforting thought of a plate of chips to accompany their lemonade! This would drastically reduce the scope of the business. Could this type of business survive when already the owners claim that their business model didn’t attract enough custom?
The owners claim that, with reduced overheads, the business would be cheaper to run. However, energy bills, stock bills, taxes and rates would not disappear: they would simply reduce alongside the reductions of the takings as fewer customers crossed the threshold. The business would simply shrink.
The real danger of this application lies in the fact that, as the council officer in charge at the committee meeting said (and I paraphrase here), if the application was to succeed, there is no way of holding the owners to their ‘promise’. If the owners got their house, they could simply leave the designated area for the pub as an empty shell…
THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT WE WILL GET OUR PUB BACK IN THIS APPLICATION!
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