Pub owners appeal over community asset delay

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

The owners of the White Horse in Hitcham have lodged an appeal in their hope to convert the village’s only pub into housing.

The appeal, which is due to be heard on Wednesday, comes after Babergh District Council voted to defer the decision for eight weeks to allow for the possibility of a community bid to be considered.

At the end of November when the council was due to give a decision over the change of use application, Hitcham Parish Council submitted a last-minute application to list the pub as an asset of community value.

The planning committee voted to defer its decision, giving a community asset bid eight weeks for consideration and, if the bid is accepted, a further six months for the community to develop their proposal to purchase the pub.

Now the committee must decide how it wishes to defend an appeal against its deferral.

With the support of residents, Hitcham Parish Council argued that, as the village’s only pub, it has value as a community facility.

Council vice-chairman Allan Scott said many residents had voiced their hope the pub would stay.

But owners Richard and Ann Lewis said the business was not viable.