A community has launched a petition in a bid to save their pub in response to a planning application which proposes to knock it down to build houses.
Graham Scott, who failed three years ago to get permission to build six new homes, wants to demolish the now-closed King’s Head at Pulham St Mary, a 16th Century Grade II listed public house which closed in 2007, and build six apartments and 12 homes.
But following a public meeting held earlier this month, organised by district councillor Clayton Hudson and chaired by South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who both oppose the plans, a petition has been started to gauge support for a potential compulsory purchase of the pub, and transferring the ownership to the community.
So far more than 200 people have signed the petition. It proposes that any compulsory purchase would be subject to an agreement between the residents of Pulham St Mary and South Norfolk Council, as well as compensating the authority for the costs to undertake it.
Mr Hudson told the Diss Express once the application had been determined by South Norfolk Council, the process of identifying potential costs to buy the pub would begin.
“More than 200 came to the meeting and I was expecting about 100,” he said. “To get double that was fantastic and considering there are 427 dwellings in the village, that is nearly 50 per cent, and that is wonderful support.
“For the most part it was a resounding ‘that plan is not the right plan’. That is not saying they are not open to other plans, but in regard to the current plan, it was a resounding no.
“We have got people in the village who have experience from the Pennoyers Centre, and there are other people in the village who have said ‘we have been through this process once, we can get through it again’.”
In a letter to South Norfolk Council last month, Mr Bacon said if the applicant did not want to run the building as a pub, the community should be given an opportunity to “try and reopen it as a community asset”. Pulham St Mary Parish Council, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Ancient Monument Society all oppose the plan.