Councillors have backed villagers trying to save their only pub by refusing planning consent for nine new homes on the site of Ye Olde Dun Cow at Cowbit.
South Holland’s planning committee voted ten-one to refuse Market Homes Ltd’s application, saying the company failed to show there was no demand for the Dun Cow’s continued use as a pub.
Lone dissenter Coun Andy Tennant said: “It is nice to have a village pub, but are we guardians of the village pub as a planning committee?”
Earlier Coun Rodney Grocock said: “If pubs close in cities or towns, the impact on local people isn’t that great, but when a village pub closes it can be devastating for local village life.
“The whole of Cowbit doesn’t want to lose their pub and have signed a petition stating that fact.”
Applicants Market Homes Ltd could still overturn the committee’s decision at appeal, but is now assessing its next step.
Spokesman for the Save Ye Olde Dun Cow Campaign Jonathan Matthews said: “Members of the campaign are thrilled with the planning committee’s decision to refuse Market Homes’ plans to build nine houses on the pub site.
“We believe that South Holland planning committee sent a strong message that Cowbit should not lose its pub because it is still viable and there were still serious offers to rebuild it.
“Refusal of the application goes far and beyond the building of nine houses. It shows SHDC recognises the need for village life to be protected and nurtured and for this we are all grateful to the planning department and supporting councillors.
“There is a long and unsure road ahead for Ye Olde Dun Cow but one thing is for sure the campaign committee will support its quest wholeheartedly for the village.”
Some 700 people signed a petition to see the fire-wrecked pub restored.
Campaigners successfully applied to have the pub listed on the council’s newly created Community Asset Register and had the full support of South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes.
Villagers also had backing from CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) who believe Ye Olde Dun Cow could be viable again.
Gareth Edwards, from the applicant’s agents Swann Edwards, said Market Homes are still deciding what to do next.
He said: “To be fair, they haven’t made their minds up. We haven’t had the decision notice yet. Obviously it only happened on Wednesday night – they are going to look at all the options and decide where to go next.”