Three Pickerels at Mepal wins consent for several large extensions despite recommendation for refusal by council officers

Three Pickerels, Mepal

Three Pickerels, Mepal - Credit: Archant

Transformation of a popular village pub into a hotel can go ahead after councillors rejected their officers’ recommendation and agreed to allow several large extensions to the Three Pickerels at Mepal.

Three Pickerels, Mepal

Three Pickerels, Mepal - Credit: Archant

Less than six months after its first application was refused, the family owned business won approval after amending their earlier proposals.

The committee was told that urgent works were needed for the pub to meet the demand in the area for overnight accommodation.

But whilst officers welcomed the proposals in principle they felt the cumulative impact of the extensions and modifications were “unacceptable”.

The council’s conservation maintained her objection on the grounds of the visual impact and irreversible harm that would be caused to the existing high quality building.

Terry Stoodley, agent, told the committee there had been meetings with officers to discuss the extensions but they had gone against their own discussion/advice after refusal in relation to design.

He said the local community fully supported expansion of the pub.

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Committee chairman Dan Schumann said that everyone seemed to want the building but beauty was very much in the eye of the beholder.

Councillor Mark Goldsack thought the whole of the officer’s recommendation was based on a personal opinion. He was in favour of supporting this local business and believed the application should be approved.

In proposing that the officer’s recommendation for refusal be rejected, Councillor Bill Hunt disagreed with the criticism of the architecture. He added that there was no other pub in the village and the local people were supportive of the proposal.

The motion for approval was supported unanimously:

Members felt that the proposal “respects and is sympathetic to the character and appearance of the existing public house; it is harmonious in design and it will give cohesion to the existing design”.

The application allows for several large extensions to the existing public house. The proposal will convert the loft space of the building to create a third floor space for additional accommodation. The application seeks consent to change the use of the building from public house to hotel.

Officers had claimed the “proposed development would not respect the character and appearance of the existing public house and would appear inharmonious by virtue of its massing”.

They added that “the proposed extensions not only dwarf the existing building beyond recognition but also offer no cohesion with its traditional architectural style. “The proposed extensions have paid no regard for the character or appearance of either the existing building or its setting within the landscape.”