A WISBECH brewery that wants to permanently close one of its pubs has been told it must work harder to prove it has been marketed more effectively before it can be sold off.

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Elgood’s closed the Black Hart at Thorney over a year ago and want to turn it into a house but Fenland District Council has refused them permission.

John Maxey, the brewery’s agent, felt he had provided the council with sufficient information to prove the pub was no longer viable.

“The property has been a public house for many years but has now ceased trading and is currently vacant,” he told planners.

He argued that planning laws allow a change of use for a pub if, as in this instance, it is no longer financially viable or there is a lack of community need.

Parish councillors supported the change of use and told Fenland Council they would prefer it to become a house rather than stand empty.,

However officers, under delegated powers, have refused to allow the change of use arguing that Elgood’s had failed to demonstrate “that a comprehensive marketing exercise has been undertaken.”

The council said the lack of a marketing plan together with lack of accounts and the lack of an independent viability assessment resulted in them “being unable to make an informed decision on the viability of this pub.”

Peterborough City Council was consulted on the change of use and had no objection since it would not impact upon visitors or generate “significant traffic”.

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