Wayne may well find there’s nothing so lonesome, so morbid or drear, than to stand in a bar, of a pub with no beer- but Fenland Council has other ideas

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea.

The Ship Inn at Purls Bridge, Manea. - Credit: Archant

He closed because of falling trade but, four years later, Wayne Bishop has again been told he cannot turn his pub into a house but must look for a buyer.

Three times he applied and was refused permission to convert the pub – once even turned down on appeal to the Government- and now he’s received a fourth rejection.

Planners insist there’s still a chance The Ship at Purls Bridge Drove, Manea, could have a viable future.

Even Manea Parish Council commented on Mr Bishop’s latest application claiming it would “result in the loss of an important community amenity which we believe is capable of being operated on a financially viable basis”.

Fenland District Council agreed after studying their officer’s assessment which is critical of Mr Bishop’s attempts to sell the pub.

The council says a viability assessment ought to have been done independently, and not by the agent, and it had been advertised incorrectly.

Mr Bishop was also criticised for delicensing the pub and converting accommodation on the first floor which is “unlawfully occupied. The viability statement recognises the detrimental impact of the delicensing which has resulted in specialist pub sales agents refusing to market the premises”.

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Fenland Council says it has a duty to take a “precautionary approach” to pub closures and local authorities are required to support rural communities and promote the retention of pubs.

The council says an asking price of £200,000 was placed on the pub in one advert but it was unclear whether delicensing the premises may or may not have made it attractive to prospective buyers.

The assessment says Manea is a growing village, with nearby visitor attractions, and there were ample opportunities to develop The Ship.

“No information has been submitted to support the current valuation, nor has (Mr Bishop) demonstrated what an appropriate sale price should be,” concludes the council report.

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