Campaigning villagers in Thorpe Satchville who want to bring back their village pub are fighting plans to turn the vacant property into a house instead.
The Fox Inn on Main Street has been closed since 2014 but villagers, who formed a working group in a bid to attract fresh interest, say two local people have expressed a wish to buy the inn which they would continue to run as a pub.
They say The Fox is the only community asset left in their village, other than the village hall, and taking away one of its few remaining social facilities would be ‘like taking the heart out of the village’.
An application to change the pub into a residential property will be discussed by Melton Council’s planning committee later today.
Applicants John O’Gaunt Brewing Company Ltd have previously had two different tenants in to run the facility - as restaurants specialising in French and Indian cuisine.
But The Fox has been closed since 2014 since the last tenants left.
A report to the planning committee said the applicants no longer want to run the pub or make a ‘significant investment’ to safeguard it at this time, having experienced losses in the past, and that they felt the change of use to residential was their best option, They’ve also argued that there’s no longer a demand for a pub - a claim which is disputed by campaigners.
In her report to the committee, planning officer Denise Knipe is recommending for councillors to reject the change of use application.
Her report states: “In light that there has been insufficient marketing, the applicants cannot demonstrate that there is no longer a demand for the facility from someone in the pub/restaurant sector. The fact that they no longer wish to run the pub is not a sufficient reason to grant a change of use to residential.
“The proposal would result in the loss of a valued community facility for the residents of Thorpe Satchville to the detriment of the life of the community and the ability to meet its day-to-day needs. This would be contrary to policy CF4 of the adopted Melton Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 70).
“The proposal would also result in residential development in an unsustainable locatio where there are limited local amenities, facilities and jobs.”