South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) cannot stop a pub from being turned into a German furniture shop.
Helen Moroney plans to turn The Pear Tree pub in Hildersham into the shop, and as it is still a retail use does not require planning permission for the switch.
Residents of the village formed SToPiT – Save The Pear Tree – chaired by Mark Logan and with the support of the ward’s Cllr Roger Hickford, aiming to get an Article Four Directive passed which would require the application for change of use to go through the normal planning process.
However, after hearing a report today (Wednesday, January 8), SCDC’s planning committee realised it could not legally stop the change.
SCDC now plans to lobby central government to change the ‘loophole’ in planning law.
The pub had been listed as an ‘asset of community value’ last year, and while this meant that if were up for sale local residents would have had six months to table a bid, it has no effect when a building’s use changes while remaining in the same planning category.
SCDC will be asking for the government to enable local communities to have more of a say when to ensure listed assets can be retained in rural villages – one of the aims of the government’s Right to Bid scheme.
More to follow.
For all the latest news see tomorrow’s (Thursday, January 9) Echo.