Stradbroke Parish Council has opposed a plan to change a currently closed pub into an antiques shop with a cafe.
The Grade II listed Queen’s Head, in Queen Street, was built in the 17th Century, but has been closed since last year.
A planning application has been lodged with Mid Suffolk District Council for a ‘change of use’, which would also see a new garage built in the car park.
The village’s parish council met on Monday night to offer a recommendation — with councillors unanimously deciding the bid should be rejected in the “strongest possible terms.”
In planning documents by Adam Power Associates on behalf of applicant, it is claimed that should the application be given the green light, the building would remain a community facility and, with a population in the village of 1,500, their needs would be met at other establishments in Stradbroke.
“Without the purchase of the property by the applicant for the intended purpose of conversion to an antiques shop, it is likely that the pub would have remained vacant for the foreseeable future, resulting in the complete loss of a community facility as well as potential for the building to fall into disrepair, thus causing damage to its historic fabric,” it continued.
But the parish council’s official response disputes some of the claims.
They said that a former landlord of the Queen’s Head had a bid turned down for the pub last year as an offer had already been made, and were taking no further offers.
The council added there was a case for all three pubs to stand in the village, claiming there was a “gap in the market” for a meeting place for young adults. The Ivy House and the White Heart currently operate in the village.
It said the drafting of a neighbourhood plan was also underway — of the 317 people who responded, 72 per cent said pubs were important or very important, with some saying they should be protected.
And the authority felt a change of use application was unnecessary, wanting to preserve the building’s pub status for any future owners who would want to run it as a public house. Its current classification of A4 would allow the Queen’s Head to sell items and host a cafe.
CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) recently secured an Asset of Community Value order, and has also written to the council to express its objection to the plans.
Mid Suffolk District Council will have the final say on the application.