Woman's appeal against condition on pub conversion rejected

Planning permission is being sought to turn the Wheelwrights Arms in Beccles Road, Gorleston, into a

A bid to convert the Wheelwrights Arms in Gorleston into a house was approved last year but only if the change is carried out by the current owner. - Credit: Archant

A woman's appeal against a condition imposed on her bid to convert a 150-year-old pub into a house has been rejected.

The Wheelwrights Arms, on Beccles Road in Gorleston, is owned and run by Deborah Beavers and her husband.

Last year, Ms Beavers applied to Great Yarmouth Borough Council to transform the venue into a residential dwelling.

While the bid was approved, the council also imposed a condition stipulating the change of use could be carried out only by Ms Beavers, and that if the premises ceased to be occupied by her, the building would have to return to being a pub.

View south along Hall Quay in Great Yarmouth towards the town hall.Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth Borough Council imposed a condition on a bid to convert the Wheelwright Arms in Gorleston in order to "prevent the permanent loss of a community facility". - Credit: James Bass

The reason, according to the council, was "to prevent the permanent loss of a community facility".

There has been a pub on the site since at least 1856.

Ms Beavers then took the case to the Planning Inspectorate, where she appealed against the condition, asking if it was reasonable or necessary.

Her appeal has been dismissed.

Most Read

In a decision notice, published last month, inspector Jonathan Price stated that a pub such as the Wheelwright's Arms might continue to function as a community facility, "fostering personal contact between groups and individuals and generating community spirit and a sense of place".

The inspector accepted that the business has become "increasingly less profitable in recent years and faces strong competition" from other bars in Gorleston, but that evidence of unsuccessful marketing of the property as a pub, over a reasonable period, would be necessary before reaching any conclusion on the acceptability of an unconditional residential use.

"In the absence of such a period of unfruitful marketing, I consider that the contested condition remains both reasonable and necessary to prevent the permanent loss of a potentially viable community facility in this area," Mr Price said.

The pub's owners have been contacted for comment.

According to a post on the venue's Facebook page, it has not reopened since the April 12 loosening of lockdown restrictions but its landlords are "keeping a close eye on restrictions and will reopen when it is safe to do so".