Bid to change troubled pub to village nursery

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Villagers fed up with noise and anti-social behaviour have backed plans to change the use of a former pub.

Letters of support for a plan to use the old Golden Ball at Holbeach Drove as a children’s nursery and day centre have been sent to South Holland District Council planners.

The pub has been deemed to be no longer viable – a move welcomed by some villagers who said it had previously been a magnet for trouble.

The plan has been put forward by new company Giggles of Gedney Hill, owned by Paula Somers.

Her application states that neighbours have been surveyed about the proposal, which suggests “a preference for change of use and no strong objection to that change being to a children’s nursery.

“Evidence suggests that due to a number of factors including the general economic downturn over recent years, the public house is no longer a viable commercial proposition.”

One comment collected in the neighbour survey read: “It would be lovely to actually see some young children playing, laughing and enjoying it as it would bring more pleasure to the elderly people opposite.”

A supporting letter to the council also said: “There has been so many problems with the pub that nobody who lives in the village will use it.”

Another states: “The establishment has been nothing but trouble for many years with disturbances from noise – music, customers shouting, cars hooting late at night – drinking in the street, drunken behaviour and a build up of rubbish.”

As part of the application, the pub’s owners, Public Inns Partnership, has also provided evidence of the operating losses of the pub under more than a dozen tenants and managers since it bought it in 2002 and how it has dropped the asking price four times – from £250,000 in 2009 to £155,000 most recently, in a bid to sell it.