Landlord’s plan to turn pub into homes refused by council

The pub in Retford (google)
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans for a village pub to be turned into homes were refused after a landlord said his electricity bills hit thousands of pounds a month.

Christopher Jessop, 59, had applied to turn The Gate Inn, in Sutton cum Lound, near Retford, into two semi-detached houses and a garage.

But Bassetlaw District Council refused the plans on August 31, with four in favour of the plans and six against – despite officers recommending approval.

There was strong opposition to the plans from 80 residents and the parish council, who said once the pub is gone, it will be “lost forever”.

In the meeting, plans were refused on the grounds of the Sutton Cum Lound Neighbourhood Plan, which states village facilities “must be enhanced and supported the pub’s current use”.

Councillors also noted that planning decisions should “guard against unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services unless there was clear evidence that the business could no longer continue”.

The council said this evidence “had not been sufficiently provided”.

But Mr Jessop said the pandemic was “horrific” for the pub – saying he sold his home in an attempt to keep it running.

If plans were approved, he planned to live in one of the new homes with his wife.

District Councillor Denise Depledge (Con) opposed the plans and said: “The retention of the pub is a quintessential element to the village and against the ethos of the Neighbourhood Plan and detrimental to its character.

“There is already a large amount of new residential development in the village and the business should remain as a going concern and sold on if necessary.”

Residents also raised concerns over dust and noise and highway safety.

They added: “The applicant’s claim that the pub is not supported by local people is untrue and examples are meals being booked by local groups and local quiz nights.”

Mr Jessop, who has owned the pub for four years, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service last month: “We’ve propped up the pub with our catering business but after a while you can’t keep throwing money at it.

“My electricity bill now is horrendous, and it used to be £500 a quarter and it’s now £2,600.

“We’re having to turn lights off in the day to save electricity if there are no customers in.”

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