Councillors meet to discuss turning a Soham pub into a community hub despite planning permission granted to turn it into a home

The Carpenters Arms pub in Soham has planning permission to be turned into a home.

The Carpenters Arms pub in Soham has planning permission to be turned into a home. - Credit: Archant

A town pub, that councillors hope can be saved from closure by turning it into a community hub, has been given the planning green light to become a home.

Owners of The Carpenter’s Arms in Soham have planning permission to turn the setting into a house after the business was on the market for two years with just three viewings.

Now, the five district councillors for Soham are meeting to discuss if they can still apply to turn the Brook Street pub into an asset of community value, adding it to around 1,200 pubs across Britain that are run by local groups.

Councillor Ian Bovingdon said: ““We would like to find out if we can still turn it into an asset of community value.

“We believe it is a benefit to the community.”

The five meet on Thursday night (15) to discuss if this can be achieved.

The Carpenter’s Arms is one of just four pubs left in Soham but despite massively dropping its price tag from £495,000 to £375,000 the owner says he has had little interest since going up for sale in October 2015.

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Now, planning officers at East Cambs District Council have given the scheme the go ahead, to change from commercial to residential use.

It is hoped there is still a chance the pub could be designated an asset of community value (ACV) if enough people support the idea and raise the cash to buy it.

Martin Smith, business development manager for Enterprise East Cambs, said that: “The owners have clearly struggled to maintain the business.

“From a purely commercial view it would seem difficult to argue against a change of use.”

More than 1,200 pubs have been listed as an Asset of Community Value thanks to their local communities and Campaign for Real Ale members.

Tim Page, CAMRA Chief Executive said: “It is fantastic to see community groups across England coming together to protect pubs across the country from redevelopment or demolition.

“This figure is a testament to the effectiveness of putting power back into the hands of local communities and giving them a chance to have a say in shaping their town centres.”

“ACV status also generates vital support for local pubs and highlights the wide variety of community-orientated events and activities that contribute significantly to local civic life.”