Inspector blocks building on car park

Planning Inspectorate Appeal Decisions

Following the Public Hearing held in Axminster Guildhall on 20th September 2017 to determine the outcome of the seven separate planning applications relating to the Kings Arms Inn in Stockland, the Appeal Decisions have now been published. The decisions  relating to all seven appeals are contained in one document which is available to download at the Planning Inspectorate website: Kings Arms Inn, Stockland Planning Appeal Decisions.

Stockland Community Pub Limited believe that the Inspector’s decisions, which deny permission both to build new houses and to convert important parts of the pub to housing are a significant step forward in our campaign to restore the entire Kings Arms as a functioning public house. We believe there is now no realistic prospect of residential development on the site for the foreseeable future. We could not have achieved this without you so thank you for all your support.

Appeal Decisions Dismissed – Residential Housing and Change of Use

No new houses may be built on the car park and the change of use of the skittle alley and barn to residential use are not permitted. The Inspector recognised that development of these facilities would be likely to have an adverse effect on the pub and its custom which would affect its viability and that ultimately this could lead to its permanent closure with consequent harm to the social well-being of the local community. This is entirely consistent with the view which SCPL has held throughout our campaign, and with all the professional advice we have received, that implementation of these proposals could fatally undermine the pub as a viable business.

Appeal Decision Allowed – Demolition of Recent Extensions and Internal Changes

The decision to allow the proposed demolition of recent extensions and changes to the internal layout and rear extension of the core Grade II listed building is of some concern because it could lead to the pub, the skittle alley and the barn becoming disconnected, with the associated loss of the covered spaces between the  buildings. We have yet to hear the Applicant’s response to the appeal decisions but, under the circumstances, we think it unlikely that they will go forward with these proposals. They have consistently argued that these cannot proceed without the profit from the residential developments.

Listed Building Consents (LBCs)

The Inspector makes clear in his report that all seven Planning Applications must be examined and judged on their own merits separately. However it appears that, relying largely on advice provided by EDDC, the  inspector found that there was no significant adverse impact on the historical nature and fabric of the listed building, so he has allowed each of the LBCs to stand. We are advised it is unusual for a physical conversion to be allowed without the respective change of use and are seeking further advice in this regard.

The Way Ahead

For a full understanding of the reasoning behind the decisions, SCPL urges you to read the Inspector’s report in full. It is clear from the report that the Inspector attached considerable importance to the likely effect of any development on social well-being and the commercial viability of the pub. In doing so, he has clearly noted the many representations made by
local residents and other interested parties and the representations made at the hearing.

Going forward, we will now try to establish how the owner of the Kings Arms, Horatio Properties, will respond to these decisions, given that it is not now possible for them to implement their proposed scheme in full. We will be seeking a constructive dialogue to find a way to bring the pub back into use for the benefit of the community as soon as possible. In the meantime, once again, SCPL would like to thank all those people who have supported us both in the form of written representations and/or by attending the hearing. We are also grateful for the invaluable and ongoing advice which we have received from Dale Ingram of Planning 4 Pubs. We are continuing to work with Dale to achieve the outcome we desire.

Further information

At this stage we only have the information contained in the Planning Inspectorate decision
document. If anyone would like to discuss informally any aspects of the appeal decisions we
will try to assist.

Stockland Community Pub Limited is a Registered Society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit
Societies Act 2014 – No. 32191R
Registered Office: Shorms, Shore Bottom, Stockland, Honiton, Devon EX14 9DQ

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