Villagers in Holbeach St John have called a meeting as they look to save a nearly 200-year-old pub.
As previously reported a change of use planning application has been submitted to turn The Plough on Jekils Bank into just a home.
The owner, Ian Osborn, only took over the establishment last July and has been unable to open due to COVID-19 restrictions and in planning documents threatened to “board the pub up” if he didn’t get permission.
In response residents have called a meeting at the Village Hall for 6.30pm on Thursday, April 22.
In a letter to The Voice, resident Karen Frost said: “My husband has been in the village for over 50 years, and I have been here for over 30.
“The Plough Pub has always been an integral part of village life and we are shocked and saddened to hear that the new owner would like to change the pub to a residential dwelling.
“The pub has been closed due to COVID for the last year and no effort has been made to keep the pub alive. No takeaway offering has been in place since the previous landlords vacated.
“We have no other pub in the village and no other social spaces locally. The village has an aging population and sometimes the pub is the only place they are able to visit and speak to people on a day to day basis. By taking away this pub, the local community would lose the heart of the village. Losing The Plough Pub would be a total loss of a vital community focal point and amenity.”
Another resident Judith Jeffries, said: “There was so much excitement that a new owner had been found and we were all looking for the open sign to appear! Our village needs and would support The Plough Inn. It has been a vital part of community life for generations and the general consensus is the village needs it. We only have the church, village hall and pub and all three contribute greatly to community life.
“There is great anxiety, disappointment and anger with locals, many saying new owner Ian has not even tried.”
The Voice has contacted the agent who submitted the planning application asking to speak to Mr Osborn.
In documents submitted with the application he states: “The building is nearly 200 years old and despite my best efforts to maintain and update the interior it now, unfortunately, requires a new roof on the original part of the building and re-rendering outside.
“I’m asking for a change of use to a private dwelling, if granted I would look to sell The Plough as I do not have the finances to develop it myself, should the change of use be denied then The Plough would end up being boarded up.”