Debate rages on over future for Bressingham pub Chequers Inn

The fate of the Chequers Inn will be decided after public consultation ends in September
The fate of the Chequers Inn will be decided after public consultation ends in September

Uncertainty surrounding the future of Bressingham’s only remaining public house has ramped up as the debate continues into a planning application to turn it into a boutique bed-and-breakfast.

Public comments are still flooding in on plans to transform the historic Chequers Inn pub in Low Road.

The consultation period has been extended to September 1, after South Norfolk Council requested further evidence from the pub’s owners that the building was no longer fit for its existing purpose, following a mixed initial reception from residents.

One resident of High Road, Bressingham, who did not wish to be named, told the Diss Express this week: “My main view is it would be lovely to have a proper pub again.

“My second view is, if this is not viable, could there be a compromise?

“I have no experience running pubs, but clearly it would have to be very well organised and there would need to be a lot of enthusiasm from local people. I do wonder if that’s still there, though.”

Bressingham and Fersfield Parish Council backed a petition to add the building to the council’s Community Asset Register, which would potentially block the application, but councillors have declined to comment further on the issue.

Applicants Michael and Hazel Knox-Johnston bought the Chequers Inn at an auction in February.

They responded to objectors in an open letter to South Norfolk Council, stating that they were “astonished by the level of vehemence and misinformation from local comment.”

Mr Knox-Johnston, a four-decade veteran of the hospitality industry, indicated that they had researched the possibility of continuing as a pub beforehand, and no-one had showed any interest in the building during its 18 months of closure.

He wrote: “I believe that the objections being made are unrealistic and regrettably lack the financial consideration that would be risked by us as owners if this property remains a public house.”