South Norfolk Council’s cabinet has stressed their support for further negotiations between the owner of Pulham St Mary’s only public house and the community.
Graham Scott, who owns the closed 16th Century Grade II listed King’s Head pub, had lodged a purchase notice with the district authority. Also known as a reverse compulsory purchase, it requires a local authority to purchase the applicant’s interest in the land.
But following discussions at South Norfolk Council cabinet, this was refused. Officers said Mr Scott had “failed to demonstrate that the property was incapable of reasonable beneficial use following the carrying out of permitted development”.
Cabinet also agreed that, should negotiations not prove feasible, a further report would be brought before them to consider a compulsory purchase of the site.
A legal process is currently ongoing, with the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government Greg Clark having to rule whether the authority was right to decline the purchase notice.
Clayton Hudson, district councillor, told the Diss Express he hoped there could be negotiation between Mr Scott and the community, while he said plans would soon be underway to get a “strong group” of people together to begin creating a business plan and look for funding.
My hope is that we can move along and I hope a compulsory purchase will be unnecessary, and the community and Mr Scott can come to some negotiationClayton Hudson
“I think support has been galvanised by the meeting that we held in September and everybody wants to know where we are at,” he said.
“We are in a legal process so it is going to take some time.
“My hope is that we can move along and I hope a compulsory purchase will be unnecessary, and the community and Mr Scott can come to some negotiation.
“If that is not the case I feel we have got to move to compulsory purchase given the amount of support of the village to reopen the King’s Head.”
Mr Scott declined to comment.
A pint has not been served in the pub since 2007.
The community had lodged a petition to the district authority, which gained more than 550 signatures, calling for the council to purchase the pub and transfer the ownership to the community.
The plan had the backing of South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, a village resident, who claimed last year there were a number of people prepared to offer their services for free to restore the building to a pub.
More than three years ago Mr Scott had a planning application for six new homes turned down.
And he came back with a fresh plan in 2014 to demolish the pub and build 12 homes and six apartments, but this was also rejected.
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