Public house conversion accepted given limited trading catchment

The conversion of a public house in east Sussex to a dwelling has been secured, an inspector deciding that it had contributed little to local employment over the previous few years and a range of alternatives existed within a mile of the site.

The premises had been purchased by the appellants in 2009 and they had re-opened the public house in 2010 with eight part-time staff. By early 2013 the number of part-time staff had reduced due to a lack of trade and in mid 2014 the pub had closed. The appellants stated that it had never been a ‘village pub’ and most of the food and drink sold was bought from a cash and carry warehouse since this was the most cost effective approach.

In the inspector's opinion the public house had made little contribution to the local economy and despite the experience of the appellants in the licensed and catering trades the business had steadily declined. This had occurred despite advertising and marketing and winning an award for the quality of the food served. The pub had been making a substantial financial loss by the time it closed in 2014 and the availability of bars and restaurants within a nearby town centre meant that its closure would not lead to an unacceptable loss of a community facility. Nor was an alternative commercial use, as postulated by the council, likely to be appropriate given the limited internal space and layout.

Inspector: Sarah Stevens; Hearing

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