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Plans to turn Duke’s Head in West Rudham into home withdrawn following Campaign for Pubs objection

Plans to convert a historic village pub into a home have been withdrawn amid concerns that it would cause a “disaster for the local community”.

Owner Mun Fatt Tham had submitted a planning application to turn the Grade II-listed Duke’s Head in West Rudham into a residential property.

A planning statement at the time said the owners were planning to retire after “20 successful years”.

A planning application to convert the historic Duke's Head in West Rudham into a home has been withdrawn. Picture: Google Maps
A planning application to convert the historic Duke's Head in West Rudham into a home has been withdrawn. Picture: Google Maps

Last week, however, a formal notice of the proposals being withdrawn was submitted.

When we reported on the plans in May, the Lynn Road venue was listed for sale with a guide price of £385,000. It is still listed for the same price on Rightmove.

The decision to withdraw the planning application follows a formal objection from the Campaign for Pubs group, which aims to provide a “real voice for pubs”.

It described the Duke’s Head as a “community asset”, and pointed out that residents have to travel around seven miles to reach the nearest town of Fakenham.

In an objection letter filed to West Norfolk Council, the campaign group said it had received comments from residents saying they would “mourn” the loss of the pub - and claimed it has been “run down by the current owner”.

It added: “Pubs play a vital role in small communities. They help establish a community spirit and a source of information and assistance for residents, while also helping to reduce mental health issues related to loneliness and isolation.

“They provide employment in the community and are often a source of other related activities such as sports clubs which improve the general health and wellbeing of the community.

“Other pubs in similar situations have proved able to thrive as living proof that a village needs its pub which performs a vital function as a social hub and unique resource.

“Conversely, it would be a disaster for the local community if the Duke’s Head were allowed to go the same way as so many other pubs and rob the local population of a community hub.

“Once it is gone, it is gone - and will never return!”

The letter added: “As with many other attempts to change the use of a valued public house, much is made of the pub being unviable. There are numerous examples around the country of pubs which can thrive with effective business planning and management.

“There is no reason why this may not also be the case for the Duke’s Head, which has been successively run-down by the current owner. No real effort has been made to make the pub viable.”

The Duke’s Head building, which currently serves a variety of Asian cuisine, was constructed in the 17th century, and has 19th century extensions in place.

Staff at the pub have been contacted for comment.

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