The appellant stated that the location of the premises meant that it did not benefit from passing trade nor have access to residential properties within easy walking distance. She asserted that this had adversely affected the viability of the business and it had been marketed without any offers being received. The council was critical of the marketing exercise, noting that after the purchase price had been reduced to £135,000 it was advertised for a short period of time thereby failing to demonstrate that there were no purchasers.
There was no clear agreement on why the fortunes of the public house had declined. It had operated under the ‘pub co’ model which perhaps had led to unacceptably high prices being charged and rental levels which impeded profits. Inconsistent opening hours and non-delivery of beer also contributed to its decline. Nonetheless, it benefited from a large car park and the building was not inherently unattractive as to render it unsuitable as a destination, food and drink location.
In her opinion there had been a lack of investment which had resulted in the business being ‘run down’ and thereby leading to little interest once it had been marketed. Many local residents supported its retention and in the inspector’s view its loss as a community facility without adequate justification was unacceptable since it would erode the quality of rural life and the economy of the area.
Inspector Veronica Bond; Written representations