A controversial proposal to redevelop the site of an historic Covenham pub has been refused by ELDC Planners today (Thursday November 5).
At an East Lindsey planning meeting, members were recommend by officers to approve the application by Barnsley man Julian Bland to convert the New Plough, which is currently closed, to three houses - one of four bedrooms and two of three bedrooms.
But after hearing a presentation in which Coun John Kelly, the vice chairman of the parish council, protested about the loss of a precious village facility, councillors voted 8-0 against the project.
Coun Kelly said: “The pub has been hosting children’s parties, concerts. plays, wedding receptions, meetings, funeral wakes and much else - it is at the centre of the community.”
However, the committee decision is unlikely to be the end of the story.
Speaking after the vote was taken, the agent for the project, Steven Brown, said an appeal would be lodged “without a doubt” to a independent inspector for the decision to be overturned.
In his presentation earlier to the committee, he said: “ Nostalgia, sentiment and emotion cannot be allowed to blur the reality that the New Plough ceased to be viable - its levels of return were dismal.”
This view was challenged by ward representative Coun Terry Aldridge who claimed that the pub had been “renowned for its good food” and was a popular watering hole for the large number of cyclists who regularly pedal through the village.
He went on to claim that John Ramsden, of Grange Lane in the village, had been interested in purchasing the pub as a going concern.
No deal materialised and, after failing to find a buyer during six months’ marketing, Batemans Brewery sold it for £200,000 - much reduced from the original £275,000 asking price.
Of the 30 or so villagers opposing the scheme, about a dozen attended the meeting at Manby and cheered the outcome of the debate.
According to an ecology report, no fewer than five different species of bat use the site for foraging, roosting or hibernating.
In the vent of any appeal is being successful, it is likely that a condition will be imposed to ensure their interests are safeguarded.