People power saves pub from bulldozers – for now

LOCAL LANDMARK: Villagers outside the pub.

LOCAL LANDMARK: Villagers outside the pub.

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Plans to tear down a pub have been put on hold after council officers imposed a ban until the owners obtain planning approval.

Babergh District Council has served what is calls an “article four direction” on the Highbury Barn in Canhams Road, Great Cornard, which removes the rights to demolish the pub without first gaining planning permission.

Prior to this, the pub’s owner, Punch Taverns, could have gone ahead and demolished the pub after seeking “prior approval” from the council.

Demolition of a building does not usually require planning permission but needs approval from the council to ensure it is done safely, and does not leave an eyesore.

More than 300 villagers have signed a petition, handed to the council, to save the pub. Punch Taverns is reported to be in around £2.5billion of debt.

The council said the building was considered to be an important community landmark by villagers.

Peter Beer, a district councillor for Great Cornard, said the council had listened to what residents had said about wanting to save the building, and had acted on their concerns.

He said: “Following the consultation on plans to demolish this building, we are left in no doubt that the future of this much-loved building is something local residents feel strongly about.

“As a direct result of the feedback we received, we have now taken action to ensure that anyone interested in the proposals which have been put forward for Highbury Barn will have every opportunity to get involved and have their say.

“As always, the views of local people are vital as they help us to shape our communities and provide a valuable insight into what is important to local people.”

Planners received notification of a proposal to demolish the pub in August, with a consultation drawing opposition from villagers.

Since then, Punch Taverns has submitted a fresh application for a shop on the site, with a further consultation running until November 16.

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “Should an application for demolition also be received, then both proposals will be considered alongside each other by the council.

“The building was considered by the petition signatories to be a local landmark as well as an important community facility and a building of historic importance.”