The controversy surrounding plans to change the last public house in Bressingham into a boutique bed-and-breakfast took a significant twist as objectors gathered support for a petition to nominate the pub as a so-called community asset.
Opponents of a planning application that might see the loss of The Chequers Inn on the A1066 have collected a number of signatures for this petition, which if accepted onto the Community Asset Register by South Norfolk Council could block the application for a certain period of time.
Paul Davey, one of the objectors involved in the petition and a lifelong resident of Fersfield, near Bressingham, told the Diss Express: “The community thinks it would be a terrible loss. We have lost our pubs in Fersfield and we don’t want to lose this one too.”
The Chequers Inn has been closed for business since 2012 after two spells of new ownership, which themselves followed a devastating fire in the building back in 2009.
Mr Davey stated that the pub could be a success if it were managed in the same way as it had been prior to the fire.
He said that, in his opinion, The Chequers Inn had lately run more as a restaurant than a traditional local pub, a view shared by several public comments sent to South Norfolk Council.
Mr Davey added that a management style more suited to a roadside pub was needed to make it the success he and other villagers believed it could be.
This news follows the separate twist that Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council has reversed its initial support of the change proposal.
The council had earlier submitted a consultation document suggesting unconditional approval for the proposal, but at their latest meeting on July 7, members of the public voiced concerns and after lengthy discussions, councillors voted to repeal their support and back calls for it to remain as a pub.
The Diss Express contacted the application agent for comments but did not receive a response.