Owner of country pub tries again to persuade planners to allow him to turn it into a house

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea. The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
5:28 PM

Ex publican Wayne Bishop has made a fresh attempt to turn his closed pub into a house- 15 months after a Government inspector found “no compelling” evidence it should once again become viable.

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This time round Mr Bishop has presented Fenland Council with a detailed viability report which sets out how the pub suffered “a large drop in customers and sales” prompting its closure in September 2011.

Their application, compiled by Anglia Building Consultants of Outwell, say the pub failed because of the smoking ban, increases in alcohol duty, the minimum wage, business rates and the condition of access roads.

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea, only has a catchment of some 30 adults and with another pub in the village nearby it had struggled, says the report.

The agents say that although the pub is sited along the Old Bedford River, visitors from a nature reserve and those who go bird watching create little extra trade.

And they have enclosed photos in their application for change of use to Fenland Council showing the “appalling condition of the access road”.

Planners will consider the report and look at sales particulars showing the pub was extensively marketed for 18 months “but in the time it was on the market no requests to view were received and no offers made on the property”.

The planning inspector had accepted Mr Bishop had tried to keep the business alive but at the time argued for more information on viability which has since been compiled.

When he first applied to close the business Mr Bishop won support from nearby residents who accepted the pub was no longer viable.

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