Make-or-break meeting on plan for village pub

Planned alterations to a Grade II listed pub, which have drawn criticism from two councils, are due to be decided upon this week.

The owners of the Rose and Crown at Bridge Street have applied for permission to create two detached outbuildings, put up fencing and move an external steel flue.

Richard Grey and his wife Laura, who bought the 19th century pub three years ago, plan to use one of the new buildings as a food preparation area. The other would replace temporary units in the pub’s car park and be used for storage.

Although the pub, which closed last year, is currently for sale priced at £499,950, Mr Grey has previously indicated he is willing to give the business another go. Villagers have said they would like to see the building remain as a pub.

On Wednesday, Babergh District Council’s development committee will meet to discuss the proposals, which have been recommended for refusal by Long Melford Parish Council.

The parish council claims the plans are not in keeping with the environment or historic significance of the property and would have a detrimental impact on the character of the area.

Ken Watkins, chairman of Alpheton Parish Council – a village on which the pub borders – has previously stated concerns that the proposed storage units would be an “over development”.

The authority has also questioned the use of a shed as a food preparation area, as it feels the movement of food in the open air to the pub would contravene food and hygiene regulations.

However, case officer Alex Scott disagrees. “The proposal appropriately blends with the scale, form, design and character of the listed building and respects its setting,” he said.

“It would benefit the viability of the existing business use and would have no adverse impact on environmental quality.”

Mr Scott said there would no reduction in the amenities enjoyed by neighbouring properties.

The plans have been recommended for approval.