Villagers fear losing only pub

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A village could lose its pub if the district council approves an application to turn it into a house.

Residents in Hitcham have voiced their concern after an application was submitted to change the use of the White Horse pub into a home.

Hitcham Parish Council has objected to the proposal in writing to Babergh District Council before it is decided at a planning committee meeting on Wednesday.

Parish council vice-chairman Allan Scott said there was serious concern from villagers.

“It is definitely wanted,” he said. “What we would like to try to do is find a way to keep a viable pub in the village.

“The feeling in the community is that we want to keep the pub open – it’s the only one we’ve got.”

He said he understood the difficulty of running a business in a rural community, but felt the pub was a vital part of the village.

He said they were considering registering the pub as a community asset.

The parish council collated responses from village residents as to whether the building should remain in use as a pub. Out of the 80 responses, only three residents said they did not want it.

Councillors want the community to be given more time to consider and investigate all options for retaining a pub in Hitcham.

The owners, however, have indicated that only 27 villagers have used the pub frequently over a 12-month period.

Mr Scott said he had a growing stack of letters of objection, which will be presented to the planning committee when it meets.

“We intend to represent the community at the meeting,” he said.