It’s time to put up or accept that you’ve supped up.
That is the challenge thrown down by local campaigner and semi-retired planner John Wilcock after Wyre Council extended its consultation period on controversial proposals to change the now closed Church Inn on Bonds Lane into houses,
Residents and interested parties have until March 18 to share their views on the plans.
Mr Wilcock, of The Moorings, says it is over to the public to let the council and their local councillor know if they believe the pub was, and could again be, a vital part of local community life.
He said: “The acid test is does the community want to keep it as a pub or not? It’s been given another opportunity to make its views. If the community says absolutely nothing I suppose it proves the community doesn’t want to keep its pub.”
Mr Wilcock had previously challenged the council saying he believed the property should have been the subject of a heritage assessment and the planning notice had been inappropriately displayed on the wrong side of the road at the bottom of a lamp-post.
Now a Heritage Statement has been placed on the council’s website and a new notice has apeared on a post outside the Inn. He has asked the parish council to consider nominating the pub as an asset of community value
The Heritage Statement is attached to the planning application (number 14/00062/FUL) on Wyre Council’s website and describes how the pub was created from former cottages and is of heritage significance due to its age, history and pleasing aesthetic appearance. But it also notes: “Reversion to domestic usage is a sustainable change, replacing what had become an unsustainable business proposition. The loss of the Inn is a compromise made necessary by economics.”
But Mr Wilcock says that although the business may not have been viable as a tenanted property with high rental charges, it needs to be demonstrated it was not viable as a business run by owners.
He added: “I feel the council should ask the applicants for proof that the property was trading unviably.”