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'Sit down and talk' challenge to owner of Pulham St Mary King's Head

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A pub owner who says a decades-long planning stalemate has resulted in his “virtual financial ruin” now wants a local council to buy his historic inn.

Graham Scott, owner of the Pulham St Mary King’s Head, which has been closed since 2007, has served a purchase order on South Norfolk Council.

However, he has been challenged to sit down and talk about a “realistic price” for his local parish council to buy it for the village and run it as a community pub, like the Garboldisham Fox.

The King’s Head in Pulham St Mary has been closed for the last 12 years.
The King’s Head in Pulham St Mary has been closed for the last 12 years.

Mr Scott’s last planning application to demolish part of the pub was refused last year and, in comments with his current purchase notice, he says: “These orchestrated and vindictive attacks have been life-changing for me and have resulted in virtual financial ruin.”

He says he has more that 20 years of documented evidence “to illustrate how the planning system has been used by third parties to freeze my former family pub business and home”.

He signs his notice: “Planning Guru”.

A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said that the purchase order had been correctly served and, therefore, would be considered by the council.

Clayton Hudson, who is a district councillor, as well as parish council chairman, said Mr Scott had shown no evidence of trying to sell or let the pub at an appropriate price, and he did not think his latest purchase notice would resolve the saga.

“He has been looking for more than £1 million, when the district valuer values it at £220,000,” he said.

“I would personally love to lead a community interest company. However, for this to work, Mr Scott needs to agree to sell.

“The ball is in his court. I am ready when he is to sit down and make it happen,” added Mr Hudson.

During the years since the pub closed, Mr Scott’s applications to develop the site for housing have been refused and, in 2016, the parish council made what it described as “a reasonable” offer to purchase the King’s Head.

In April, the planning inspectorate, upholding South Norfolk’s refusal of a previous notice to purchase served by Mr Scott, said that it had not been demonstrated that a new buyer could not make a success of the pub.

Mr Scott did not reply to a Diss Express approach through his agent for further comment.

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