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Owners of Duke of York in Gosberton Risegate asked to prove pub is no longer viable

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The owners of an empty pub have been asked to prove that the building has no future before they will be allowed to demolish it.

District councillors deferred a decision on the Duke of York in Gosberton Risegate at Wednesday’s planning committee meeting - calling for evidence to support the case against its continued existence as a pub.

Lucy Stevens, daughter of applicant Sue Goodenough, said the building was in a state of disrepair with rising damp, woodworm and the need of a new roof.

The Duke of York in Gosberton Risegate (57344469)
The Duke of York in Gosberton Risegate (57344469)

She said the building is costing £600 a month in business rates, council tax and insurance - and will have been closed two years by October.

She apologised for not providing financial information - and said her mum, who did not take a wage from the pub, still lives in the village and wants the best for residents.

Councillors heard how there had been no campaign to save the pub by residents - but it had not been marketed for sale.

Coun Simon Walsh said he was not sure of the point of forcing the pub to be placed up for sale just to prove there was no interest.

He and Coun Christine Lawton both referenced the fact that there had been no community pressure to try to save the pub.

Coun Lawton said: “It’s always a shame to lose a pub of historic significance but it seems difficult to argue against this proposal. More housing may bring more customers for the pub that remains in the village.”

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said the committee could not ‘bend’ the rules - which were put in place to safeguard pubs as a result of community pressure.

He said that unfortunately meant that owners had to go through the ‘expensive exercise’ of proving they could not be sold as pubs.

He said officers would need ‘not just a few fag packet calculations’, adding: “The officers will be sympathetic but ultimately they will have to stick to the guidance and rules.”

Coun Bryan Alcock added: “The information we need is the cost of putting the building right. It sounds as if they have got the information and sounds as if it’s a substantial amount of money.”

Officer Richard Fidler said that it may be the case that the information held by the applicant could be enough for officers to bring the application back quickly for a decision to avoid a delay for the family.

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