Villagers object to bid to turn pub into flats

Brooke Smiles, 17, and her dog Poppy. ANL-141230-101234001
Brooke Smiles, 17, and her dog Poppy. ANL-141230-101234001

Councillors and residents have penned their objections to plans to turn a former pub into flats.

The application for the former Carved Angel pub in Upper Holt Street, Earls Colne, was first submitted in April.

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If approved by Braintree District Council’s planning committee, the ground-floor bar and restaurant area of the Grade II listed building – now called The Oxford House – would be converted into two self-contained flats, while a detached, two-storey house would also be built.

Councillors from Earls Colne Parish Council described the access from Oxford House on to Tey Road – which was previously closed off for safety reasons – as dangerous, and said they would not wish to see the access reopened.

The council also claimed the design of the detached house did not match the neighbouring properties.

But conservation consultant David Andrews said he did not agree with the council, stating that the Georgian-style design would fit in.

He did, however, believe the height of the proposed building was too high and therefore recommended revisions to the design before approval was given.

Most recently, the site has been run as a conference centre but some residents claim this has never been marketed properly and have appealed for the site to be reopened as a pub.

Chris Lunn, from York Road in the village, said: “We frequently socialised there until its unexpected closure while still a busy and popular pub.

“Losing a significant piece of our village’s history, being as it is located in the historic heart of Earls Colne, would deprive not only Earls Colne residents but the populations of White Colne and Colne Engaine of a very viable local social establishment.”

So far, there have been 13 objections from residents in Earls Colne, many of these accusing the current owners of leaving the site vacant, and making no attempt to run a business there, which they say, under the right ownership, could flourish.

Catherine Turner, from Swallow Field, Earls Colne, said: “This has been proven to be a viable business, which the current owners have not allowed to continue.

“Since this premises closed as the Carved Angel pub, the owners have made no attempt to promote the business and the premises has been closed to the public and left to deteriorate.”

Steve Belcher, the applicants’ agent at Essex-based architecture and planning firm ADP Ltd, refused to comment on the plans or the objections raised.