October 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
A 16th Century village pub is to be converted into a house because the business “had no future”.
Proposals to change The Fleece in Mendlesham were passed by Mid Suffolk District Council.
According to a viability report the pub closed in March last year with one of the requirements being there is another establishment in the village before a change of use application can be approved.
Stephen Culverhouse, a fellow of the British Institute of Innkeeping, compiled the viability report into The Fleece.
He said: “I do a lot of reports and I do not accept all of the instructions; I only take them on if it is a genuine case where the pub has no future.
“I have been in the industry for 40 years and take the approach that some businesses are legitimately unviable.
“There’s another pub nearby which is a crucial point. That pub is within walking distance and it ticks all the boxes so it was up to the planning people to decide whether they would allow it to go ahead.”
He added that it would be difficult for Mendlesham to sustain two pubs.
The parish council supported the application.
A council spokeswoman said: “The loss of this community asset could result in a negative impact on the local community. However, a number of different landlords over a relatively short time period failed to secure the viability of this business in a community containing two public houses.
“A separate report that accompanied the planning application on the future business outlook for The Fleece gave no cause for optimism.
“This decision to grant this planning application will secure the future of a historic building in the centre of Mendlesham which has been empty for some months and the fabric of the building is now suffering. It will also hopefully place the remaining public house, The Kings Head, in a more sustainable position with regard to the long term future.”
Around 25 pubs close a week nationally, according to Camra.