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The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe refused planning permission to put up marquee dining area all year round

An award-winning pub will not be allowed to keep an outdoor marquee up all-year round after being refused planning permission.

Staff at The White Horse in Brancaster have permission to erect the facility between March and October as part of an outdoor marsh-side bar area, but wanted to be able to keep it up through the winter months – and subsequently applied for planning permission to do so.

However, West Norfolk Council announced on Monday that this application has been turned down because it would not “protect, preserve or enhance the special landscape character and integrity of the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Heritage Coast (AONB)”.

The White Horse pub in Brancaster. Picture: Google Maps
The White Horse pub in Brancaster. Picture: Google Maps

The pub has expanded in recent years to create an outdoor dining area covered by canvas, offering diners a view across vast salt marshes.

However, its growing success has left neighbours frustrated at the number of cars parked up on the roadside, and also sparked complaints that the marquee’s lights are ruining views of the night-time sky.

A report from planning officers said the marquee was originally approved because it was temporary both in terms of its physical attachment to the land and its seasonal use.

It said that “when the outside area is not in use and just becomes a storage area, it detracts from the sensitive environment and erodes the integrity” of the AONB.

“The marquee is clearly visible from the heritage coast and public coastal footpath,” the report added.

“While in use during the summer months, with other ‘pub garden’ paraphernalia, when the site is vibrant and providing a public benefit, its temporary siting is generally considered acceptable.”

Rob Williamson, general manager at The White Horse, previously gave reassurances the marquee would not be used for outdoor dining as some objectors suggested, and argued the marquee is “small and discreet” and can be quickly dismantled.

The plans had gained around 80 letters of support, but received 50 objections last year.

Specifically, it was a retrospective application for the seasonal erection and use of temporary buildings including a marquee, mobile bar and kitchen to provide an outdoor and covered eating and drinking areas for customers.

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