Village pub can be turned into home

A VILLAGE pub can be converted into a home, a planning inspector has ruled.Stephen Laing had appealed against a decision by Babergh District Council to refuse planning permission to convert the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Polstead Heath, near Hadleigh, into a house.

A VILLAGE pub can be converted into a home, a planning inspector has ruled.

Stephen Laing had appealed against a decision by Babergh District Council to refuse planning permission to convert the Shoulder of Mutton pub in Polstead Heath, near Hadleigh, into a house.

Planning inspector Ray Hiscox said the conversion could go ahead because the Shoulder of Mutton had been used as a house when Mr Laing had bought it with the intention of turning it back into a viable pub.

Mr Laing, a publican of 28 years' experience who also runs the Queen's Head in Lower Layham, bought the former Shoulder of Mutton pub in 1996 after it had already been converted into a home.


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He tried to resurrect it as a village pub and spent more than £20,000 on the business before being forced to admit defeat in 1999.

Mr Laing said: "I'm pleased common sense as prevailed. We're not going to dash off with a huge profit and leave Layham.

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"The money from the sale of the building is going to be reinvested in our business. We've just bought the Queen's Head and are hoping to expand."

Roger Waters, west Suffolk officer for the Campaign for Real Ale, which opposed Mr Laing's appeal, said: "We're disappointed because we are continually concerned about the loss of village amenities.

"But we recognise that if due planning process has been carried out and a business is proven to be non-viable, then so be it. Mr Laing is a successful publican elsewhere and it shows that sometimes a village pub does just slip."

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