Four month ‘reprieve’ for village pub marquee to give time to resolve planning objections

Marquee at Three Pickerels, Mepal, is under threat from East Cambs Council planners, Councillors wil

Marquee at Three Pickerels, Mepal, is under threat from East Cambs Council planners, Councillors will decide if it goes or stays on January 8. Picture; THREE PICKERELS - Credit: Archant

The future of a marquee used by a village pub hangs in the balance after council officials recommended it be removed for causing “significant and demonstrable harm”.

Not all residents agree and now the planning committee of East Cambridgeshire Council has offered a compromise.

It has given the Three Pickerels at Mepal four months to overcome the objections that were summarised by planning officers in their recommendation for refusal

The pub has used the marquee for functions for more than a year but the council says there is insufficient parking for guests attending events and the scale and siting of it is out of character with area.

"The proposal would cause significant harm to visual amenity," is their conclusion.

Councillor Lorna Dupre takes an opposing view believing the pub owners have worked hard to make close neighbours aware in advance of any events taking place there. They have even provided an out-of-hours mobile phone number to report any issues.

Cllr Dupre says they have received no complaints from direct neighbours and the only opposition has been "anonymous, through the council, and it has therefore been impossible to work with the complainants to resolve these."

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One villager who wants the marquee to stay told the council their daughter got married there in 2018 and the owners provided excellent service.

It has, they say, "enriched the beautiful riverside location" and if permission was denied it would be "a massive shame and a loss to the village and local area".

Another villager says he has lived opposite the pub for more than 40 years and has "gladly watched" the current owners develop the business.

He says the owners have stopped another pub from closure and all of the events held there have been well organised.

But not all villagers agree, with one neighbour telling the council of their concern at the loud music created by marquee events.

"We were unable to escape the intrusion from within our home from any room even from the furthest room away from the source," they said.

"There is no consideration of the impact on the neighbouring properties."

They fear their weekends will be "blighted" if the marquee is approved.

But a further villager has urged the council to allow the marquee, fearing that if it is removed "yet another Cambridgeshire village amenity would be lost for ever".