Pub near Ipswich could reopen as planners back two holiday lets

The Cross Keys in Henley is now under new management and is open for business.

The Cross Keys pub in Henley, which has been closed for seven years - Credit: Archant

The Cross Keys pub could be set to reopen - after planners backed a proposal for two holiday lets on part of the site.

Mid Suffolk's development control committee approved the plan to convert an outbuilding and extension at the Henley pub, which has been closed for seven years, into holiday lets.

However, the application involves keeping the main building and most of the beer garden for the pub's use.

As well as two new holiday lets, the development will include a cycle store and dog shower, covered barbecue area, recycling area, solar PV array and electric charging points.

A previous application for holiday lets was withdrawn in May. There have also been other applications over the years, and a bid to turn the pub into a home was rejected in 2018. 

Chris Burnard, owner of developer Traditional English Properties Ltd, said: "My personal background is that I've bought a number of failed rural pubs and made them successful businesses."

He said, to succeed as a pub once again, the Cross Keys would need additional sources of income.

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It is also hoped to have a campsite and space for up to five touring caravans, but this was not included in the application as it does not need planning permission. 

Henley Parish Council has backed the proposal "subject to a clear condition that the pub is re-opened once works are completed and that all reasonable efforts are made to run it successfully for the foreseeable future."

Parish council chairman Kevin Griggs said members wanted to avoid "development creep".

Mid Suffolk councillors at the meeting supported the proposal - but stressed it was important the pub reopened alongside the new holiday lets.

Cllr Tim Passmore said: "I am pleased that this application has come forward and has the support of the parish council. It's years that this issue has been going on."

He added, although the pub was not in the centre of the village, it was not far from Ipswich and the amount of development in the area should help its future.

"My view is that the hospitality industry at the moment needs all the help it can get."

A total of 16 letters raising concern or objection were sent to the council, as well as two letters of support.