Developer wins appeal to build homes on empty Dun Cow site

Homes will be built on the Ye Olde Dun Cow site at Cowbit after all.

Developer Market Homes has won its appeal against South Holland District Council refusing planning permission.
However, an application for costs to be met by the council was turned down.

Cowbit villagers who formed The Campaign to Save Ye Olde Dun Cow ran a strong and organised effort insisting that a pub could still operate on the site, but the appeal decision came as no surprise to the group after its case was weakened by the site being delisted from the council’s Community Assets Register in April.

Planning inspector Jon Hockley said: “I have concluded that it is not appropriate for the use of the site to be limited to that of a public house and that residential development of the site is acceptable in principle.
“I have also found that the construction of a public house and the use of {it} on the appeal site has been shown to be unviable.

“I note the strong community support for the former pub use to be retained, and agree that the {National Planning Policy} Framework supports the retention and development of local public services and facilities.
“However, in this case given that I have found that the site has a ‘nil’ use at present, and the strong evidence submitted concerning the viability of a public house on site, I consider that the appeal should be allowed.”

The appeal decision brings to a close a long-running saga, during which the district council admitted procedural mistakes in allowing the site to be included in its Community Asset Register.
Buildings or land can be nominated for inclusion if they further their community’s well-being and are likely to continue to.

Mr Hockley said: “I note that any proposed public house use that the Campaign may institute would be a community use and so would not necessarily need to make a profit. However, even with this proviso, profit would still presumably be required to make improvements, replace equipment and furnishings and so on.
“This seems to me to demonstrate that the economic case for the use of the site as a pub, albeit one including other community and social uses, would be difficult to achieve and has not been clearly demonstrated.”

In rejecting Market Homes’ bid for the council to pay costs, Mr Hockley said: “Whilst I have found instances of procedural and substantive unreasonable behaviour, I do not consider that this unreasonable behaviour has resulted in unnecessary or wasted expense.”

The Dun Cow ceased trading early 2012 and, while empty, suffered extensive damage in an arson attack later that year. The remains of the pub were demolished in March, with permission from the council.

Market Homes is expected to start building work very soon.
John Escott, of Robinson Escott Planning, said: “My clients, Market Homes, are delighted that the appeal has been allowed.
“They are still considering the inspector’s decision regarding the costs, but are pleased that they are now able to provide nine high quality homes in Cowbit, which will be a welcome addition.”
An undertaking as part of the planning application is that Market Homes will provide cash towards community facilities and local people will have first refusal on buying the homes.

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