Plans submitted to turn former Arlesey town centre pub into housing

Plans submitted to turn former Arlesey town centre pub into housing
The Vicar's Inn, Arlesey
The Vicar’s Inn, Arlesey

Another former pub in Bedfordshire city center is set to be converted into accommodation after a previous attempt was rejected.

Applicant Basra Investments Limited has submitted full plans to convert The Vicar’s Inn at Arlesey into a property and to build three further houses.

The site on Church Lane consists of a traditional inn and its grounds, including a car park and small garden area.

The conversion project, which includes the former hostel and a flat, is recommended for approval by planning officials at Central Bedfordshire Council.

Conservative Arlesey Councilor Ian Dalgarno tabled the motion, saying it would result in over-development of the site and affect the amenities of nearby residents.

“The guidelines state that the building should be considered for other community uses,” he added.

“There will be no improvement in the biodiversity of the site. And the applicant has not contacted the community to discuss other uses.”

According to a report to CBC’s Development Management Committee, 27 objections were received to the original program.

“It was understood that the high level of interest showed that the facility was valued by the local community,” the report explained.

There are three representations opposed to the current proposals. Comments include “no real change from what was previously rejected”, “the issue of safe vehicle access still exists in a dangerous location between two blind corners” and “Arlesey will be over-built with any open space being filled”.

Another remarked: “The claim that the cost of living crisis has anything to do with the prospect of finding someone to take over the pub is ridiculous as this is a short-term problem caused by external and unexpected factors, in contrast to the profitability of running a pub in the longer term”.

And it was suggested “that the change in use of the inn would remove a valuable village amenity that has facilitated connection and a social space, particularly for older residents”.

The development provides for a new entrance on the east side of the site, the report added.

The previous plans were rejected “for lack of valid justification and marketing information in their favour” and would “contrary to the policy of the Local Plan result in an unacceptable loss of a key community facility and related jobs”.

Officials concluded: “It would not meet the economic and social goals of sustainable development.

“A marketing report, another profitability report and other supporting information were submitted in the course of this application. It has to be checked whether the proposal has overcome the previous reason for rejection due to these additional documents.

“The pub was understood to have ceased operations in March 2020. A submitted marketing report shows that there was no interest in renting or selling the premises.

“The former landlady lived in the secondary apartment until the end of October 2022. The property is now empty.”

City councilors are scheduled to consider the proposal at a committee meeting next Wednesday. (21st December).

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