Rejection of controversial move

A CONTROVERSIAL move to turn a village pub on the A12 into a home has been rejected after it was decided it would result in the loss of a key community facility.

A CONTROVERSIAL move to turn a village pub on the A12 into a home has been rejected after it was decided it would result in the loss of a key community facility.

But while the proposal for the Lion Inn in Little Glemham, near Saxmundham, was turned down, an application has been submitted to convert another village pub further south on the A12 – the Bell Inn in Marlesford – to residential use.

A spokesman for Marlesford Parish Council said: "We are very concerned about losing a valuable local facility in our village."

He added it was likely parish councillors would oppose the application, which has just been submitted.

Sharon Cripps, owner and licensee at the Lion Inn in Little Glemham, said her business had been badly hit when councillors insisted she remove approach signs for the pub about a year ago.

Little Glemham Parish Council objected to her proposal to convert the pub into a home, saying the village had no shop or post office and the Lion Inn was the last amenity or meeting place left.

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The Suffolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said it was satisfied with Suffolk Coastal District Council's decision to reject the proposal for the Lion Inn.

"Suffolk CAMRA are satisfied with the council's decision and their stand to protect, or at very least, fully question the claims of non-viability of the village amenities of their area of Suffolk," it added.

Planning officers made the decision to reject the application using delegated powers.

The council's director of planning and leisure, Jeremy Schofield, said the change of use "would result in the loss of an existing key village facility and associated employment, to the detriment of the economy and vitality of the rural community".

He added: "Insufficient evidence has been put forward to show that the public house is not or cannot be made financially viable, or cannot be sold as a going concern."

An application has also been submitted to turn the Volunteer Inn in Leiston into a home.

The Suffolk branch of Camra said it would be reviewing the Bell Inn and the Volunteer Inn applications and making comments before the end of May.

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