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Officials reject new bid to turn West Norfolk village pub into house

Developers have lost their latest bid to turn a West Norfolk village's last remaining pub into a private house.

Borough council officials have today refused an application for planning permission for a change of use of the Blue Bell premises in Stoke Ferry.

A notice of the decision, signed by director of environment and planning, Geoff Hall, has now been published on the council's website.

A second bid to convert the Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry into a private house has been turned down.
A second bid to convert the Blue Bell in Stoke Ferry into a private house has been turned down.

It said: "The application as submitted fails to clearly demonstrate that the continued use as a public house or alternative community or employment use is unviable."

The notice added that the proposal breached both local and national planning policy guidelines, because of the loss of an employment site and community facility in a village defined as a key service centre.

The decision will be welcomed by campaigners in the village who are fighting to re-open the pub, which has been closed since the spring of 2018.

It's the second time that the borough council has rejected plans to turn the Blue Bell into a house after an earlier plan was rejected late last year. That decision was then upheld by a government inspector on appeal.

Last month, officials from the Save The Blue Bell group said they were confident they could both buy the building and open it to customers by the spring or early summer of next year.

That came after Oxygen 56 Limited, the London-based company which sought a change of use of the site, claimed two offers from them of a £100,000 interest-free loan to help the group buy the pub were rejected.

The group said the developer had imposed unreasonable conditions on the offer, while Oxygen 56 accused them of seeking to frustrate their proposals.

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