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Council refuses planning bid to convert Hildersham pub

Protestors against the closure of the Pear Tree pub outside it before it was shut down.
Protestors against the closure of the Pear Tree pub outside it before it was shut down.

Campaigners will be celebrating after plans to turn a former village put into a four bedroom house were refused

The planning application by the owners of the former Pear Tree pub in Hildersham was rejected by South Cambridgeshire District Council’s development control committee at its recent meeting.

The pub, which closed 18 months ago, was listed by local people as an Asset of Community Value and the potential for it to be used as a pub again in the future was one of the key reasons for plans being turned down.

By listing the Pear Tree as an Asset of Community Value, local groups would have been given the opportunity to bid to purchase it if it had been put up for sale.

However, just over a year ago it was converted to a furniture shop – a move that required no further planning permission as it was permitted development.

The council decision follows a public consultation where the community raised concerns over the loss of the asset to the village and the building being listed as an asset of community value was a consideration when the planning application was determined.

Cllr Robert Turner, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: “Pubs are often at the heart of rural villages, and their loss is something we take very seriously.

“The Community Right to Bid legislation was put in place to make sure people had more say on the future of important buildings in their cities, towns and villages and the listing of this former pub was a key factor in our decision.

“We’ve also been campaigning to change national planning legislation in the same way, and were delighted last month to hear that Government is looking to do just that. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the proposed changes to make sure our vital village pubs are given the right level of safeguarding.”

For more information about the Community Right to Bid visit www.scambs.gov.uk/community-right-bi

Although the Echo was unable to contact Mark Logan, chairman of the SToPiT - Save the Pear Tree - campaign group for a reaction, he had previously called on people to object to the planning application, saying: “I hope we can still save the place.”

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