Pub refurbishment is the toast of planners

The Bull Hotel in Long Sutton.
The Bull Hotel in Long Sutton.
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A derelict pub in Long Sutton is to be returned to its former glory – in spite of opposition by English Heritage.

The Grade II listed Bull Hotel has stood empty for more than ten years but plans for its extension and refurbishment were unanimously approved by South Holland District Council planners at Wednesday night’s meeting.

In addition plans for 39 residential units served by access off Bull Lane were also given the thumbs-up.

A unit to the rear of the Bull has been designed to reflect the traditional architecture of the pub.

The other units, the majority of which front onto the park, have a more contemporary design but will be constructed using traditional materials.

Developer Jan Von Draczek, of Korvin Developments, originally bought the Bull Hotel in 2004. Previously he has undertaken restoration work at Seagate Hall.

He said: “Working closely with planners we will safeguard the Bull Hotel for the future.”

Paul Jackson, the district council’s planning manager, referred to a report by English Heritage that said it was not convinced the scheme would deliver the regeneration suggested.

It stated: “We consider there is insufficient justification for the substantial harm caused.”

Coun Andrew Tennant said: “The Bull Hotel has been in disrepair for 20 years. We should snatch the chance to see it refurbished.

“As councillors we are guardians of these buildings, but we must also be practical. This plan is going to restore the hotel.”

There was some concern about what would happen if the developers pulled out before the Bull Hotel was refurbished.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said: “We have to decide on a trigger point for when we expect the refurbishment of the hotel to be finished to make sure they don’t just walk away after completing 36 properties.

“This sort of thing has happened in the past.”

Paul Jackson, the district council’s planning manager, said setting the trigger point at two-thirds might be something the committee should consider.

Coun Brewis referred to a development in Lime Walk. He said: “Here was a situation where the affordable houses were built and the rest wasn’t. I think two-thirds is about right.

“I think this is one of the most important applications in 12 small market towns in the UK. The Bull has been a dying tooth in the town for many years.

“It is an excellent plan and project and will increase the footfall in the town centre.”