Pub saved from demolition after store and homes plan refused

The White Horse, Felixstowe.

The White Horse, Felixstowe. - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Campaigners have today won their battle to stop a much-loved pub being demolished to make way for a convenience store and homes.

Punch Taverns submitted the plans last year to tear down the White Horse pub in Church Road, Old Felixstowe, and replace it with a shop with four flats above and two three-bed bungalows in the pub car park.

East Suffolk Council has now rejected the application - much to the relief and joy of regulars and residents.

The Save the White Horse Action Group said it was "amazing news" and added "well-done everyone for everything they have done".

The White Horse, Felixstowe.

The White Horse, Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

The council's refusal report said the pub - which was designed by widely-respected Suffolk architect Thomas Cotman and is a non-designated heritage asset - was of a "moderately high significance and its complete loss would substantially harm its significance with building recording being unacceptable mitigation for this".

The demolition would result in "considerable harm".

Council planners said the planned convenience store was of a "very poor design quality" and - opposite a 14th-century listed church - would create a "jarring" appearance.

Most Read

The report added: "The proposal would result in the loss of a public house which is a valued community facility serving the local neighbourhood. Although the scheme would provide a different facility, there is already a convenience store within walking distance of the site and significant support in favour of the public house use has been highlighted through public consultation."

Punch Taverns, which has the pub up for sale with Savills with a guide price understood to be around £850,000, told planners the majority of the trade at the pub was "drink focussed" relying on local regulars rather than food and people from outside the area.

It said: "The pub has recently found a declining trade, with a significant drop in revenue in 2019. Businesses such as the one run at White Horse have been unable to compete in the current market due to the lack of a food offering and declining wet sales resulting in the business as loss-making.

"Even with a substantial investment, in the region of circa £150,000, to improve the condition and presentation of the property, reflective of the existing choice in the immediate area, this would not attract any additional trade."