Victory for those against pub car park house plan
MEMBERS of a village conservation group went out to celebrate a planning victory on Monday – but were unable to have a drink in their local pub because it has been closed for almost a year.
Instead, the members of the Marhamchurch Conservation Group had to drive five miles to the other side of Bude to raise a glass to the fact that North Cornwall's planners had refused a scheme to reduce the size of the Bullers Arms in their village and to build houses on part of the site.
Many of the residents want the Bullers Arms to stay the same, with space for dining and functions but owner Stephen Rudman applied for planning permission to reduce the size of the pub and build houses on part of the site.
Almost 50 people travelled from Marhamchurch to Liskeard on Monday to hear the discussion at the meeting of the east area planning committee, too many to get in the council chamber, and they were rejoicing when members voted 10-1 against the plans.
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Members of the committee considered that a reduction in the size of the pub was detrimental to the environment and social life of Marhamchurch, and that the loss of open space was detrimental to the conservation area.
Owner Stephen Rudman wanted to demolish the main area of the function suite and convert it into a five-bedroom home and also build seven cottages in the car park.
His scheme was supported by the planning department but after hearing the argument for both sides the committee thought differently.
He said in his application that he was dedicated to retaining the village pub and had supported the business for the good of the community, but it was not viable in its present form.
"The proposal retains the pub and restaurant in a form that will not affect its day-to-day running and will preserve jobs."
Chris Jopling, a member of the conservation group, said: "We are delighted and we are going out for a drink to celebrate. We just wish we could do it in our own village.
"Some of the members of the planning committee knew the pub as it was, and didn't want the village ruined."
Ray Hockin, chairman of Marhamchurch Parish Council, told the meeting there were 200 letters of objection.
The parish council, said Mr Hockin, did not accept that it was appropriate to build in the Bullers Arms car park.
After the meeting Mr Rudman said he planned to appeal the decision.