A pub which has been closed for five years and which has been the subject of a battle to stop it being converted into housing could now be demolished to make way for housing with a neighbouring property being turned into a new pub after villagers, councillors and the owner worked together on an alternative plan for the site.
Nearly 100 people attended a public meeting at Thorpe Satchville to discuss proposals to knock down The Fox Inn to make way for 14 new homes to be built and convert the adjacent private house, Cedar Lodge, into the new pub.
Residents previously opposed plans to convert the building into residential use because they said it was an essential community asset to attract more young people to live in the village to supplement the ageing existing population.
Many of them believe the pub can be a thriving business is managed effectively and they are confident the scheme will rejuvenuate Thorpe Satchville if is passed eventually by Melton borough planners.
Matthew Kettle, one of the supporters of the plan, told the Melton Times it was hoped a planning application will be made ‘fairly soon’.
He said: “The proposed redevelopment was very well received and there was warm applause at a community meeting in the village hall earlier this month.
“There were around 90 villagers in attendance with all of them supporting the concept that was proposed.
“There were some points raised that will be drawn upon and added to the existing proposal so we ensure where possible it meets everyone’s needs and desires.”
Councillor Leigh Higgins, borough council member for the ward, said: “After spending some considerable time working on this with different parties I believe this solution is the best viable option on the table.
“I was heartened when the village gave it warm applause at the meeting and would like to pay tribute to them and their resolve.”
In January last year, a planning inspector dismissed an appeal against Melton Council’s decision to refuse permission for The Fox to be converted into housing.
She backed objectors by finding it was an important community asset and had not been marketed extensively enough for its potential sale as a public house.
A further plan, backed by a comprehensive report by independent consultants, was submitted to convert the pub to home but the current owner has now decided to work with the community to find a solution to the wrangle.
Mick Jones, chair of the parish pouncil, said: “Following a presentation to the parish council last month, the proposal received unanimous support and has our full backing.
“This development will be a great addition, helping to rejuvenate the village and add to the community, making it more sustainable.
“The planned new public house will provide a central focus and meeting place for the villagers as a whole.”