Thank you for your patience and apologies for the long silence! We have not been idle, but life does sometimes get in the way of volunteer projects. However, I am writing now because I have a bit of news to share.
Back in December, an Application for Lawful Development Certificate for Existing Use was made to West Suffolk Council. This was an attempt to get the Marquis Cornwallis registered as A3 Use (Restaurants and Cafes) instead of as A4 Use (Public House). It was not a normal planning application, so there was no opportunity for public statements or objections. However, I thought you would be interested to hear that the application was refused last Friday, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. It is also interesting to note that the application was made by one Ben Barnard of EPB Developments Ltd, who claimed to be the owner of the pub on his application. However, so far as we know, Steven White is still living in the pub and still owns it. Mysterious. You can view the application, along with the Decision Notice and other documents, here.
We are still putting together improved costings in preparation for presentation to the Parish Council before too long. We will let you know how it goes!
Best wishes and good health to you all in these unsettling times,
I have a bit of positive news to share!
As I think you know, we have been talking with Chedburgh Parish Council about the possibility of it taking out a Public Works loan to buy the pub and land, with a view to refurbishing it and leasing it out to CMCH to run as a community pub. As a result, the Parish Council have asked us to provide more detailed plans and costings for the refurbishment than were in our business plan. We need an architect, quantities surveyor and an adviser to tell us what fittings we will need for the bar and kitchen, and then we need to prepare costings based on their reports. Once the Parish Council has reviewed what we give them, they will decide whether they like the plan enough to open a public consultation. Their final decision on whether or not to apply for the loan will depend on the result of the public consultation.
Back at the start of the Summer, we were awarded a grant called the Reach Fund by Social Investment Business, which would cover the costs of getting in these three professionals to advise us on the refurbishment, but since then we have been stuck because the owner of the pub, Steven White, would not allow us access. However, this week we have finally successfully negotiated permission to access the pub – hooray! So now we can go ahead and spend the grant money to prepare the costings, which will no doubt take a couple of months itself, but at least we are moving forwards at last.
Thank you to those of you who have attended our events over the Summer and bought raffle tickets or tea and cake at the art exhibition in Chevington. It all helps to keep the campaign going and we are grateful for your support. We are very pleased to welcome a new member of our management committee, Rachel Wood, the artist who hosted the exhibition. We have also sadly said goodbye to two members, Emma Clark and Hollie Pritchard, and we thank them very much for their help so far.
Talking of art, we have been thrilled to receive a donation of a watercolour painting of the Marquis, from the artist Carol Goodchild. We are working on a way to display it for you all to see.
Finally, you may have noticed some activity at the pub recently – don’t be concerned, it is the owner, not squatters!
All the best,