‘Blot on the landscape’ Fenland pub must prove it’s no longer viable if it is to have any hope of being demolished to make way for housing

Black Hart

Black Hart - Credit: Archant

Developers wanting to demolish a Fenland pub and replace it with six homes have been told to prove the hostelry is no longer viable and has no other commercial use.

Hopes of demolishing the Black Hart at Thorney Toll in order to build the three and two bedroomed homes were dashed at Wednesday’s Fenland planning meeting.

Officers recommended the application by Mr M O’Brien for refusal and councillors agreed in a vote seven to two.

Mark Benns, agent, explained the Black Hart, which was built 80 years ago,operated as a pub until Elgoods called time in 2012.

He said the property was a blot on the landscape and that if councillors refused permission for the development it would mean the “site will be stifled by planning policy”.

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Part of the officers’ objections including the site’s location in a flood zone 3 area.

Planning officer Catherine Brand also pointed out the developers had not produced documentation backing their assertions that the pub is no longer viable and that they had also tried marketing it at a reasonable value.

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Councillor Kit Owen questioned: “It is as clear as the nose on your face it is not viable so why are we asking people to go through the expensive exercise of proving it?”

However, Councillor Peter Murphy argued the application falls short and is contrary to various planning policies and Councillor David Hodgson said he would support the proposals as there were no objections from Highways.

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