11:39am Wednesday 11th April 2012
CAMPAIGNING villagers have again narrowly won their fight to keep the local pub after planners vetoed a compromise scheme to convert part of it into a home.
The long-running wrangle over the future of School House Inn at Marishes, near Malton, has been going on for two years between Ryedale District Council and owners Matthew and Sarah Richardson who have been refused permission to convert it into two homes three times.
Residents of the hamlet packed the council chamber at Ryedale House last week after lobbying members of the planning committee with placards as they arrived urging them to save the pub.
Despite planning officers recommending approval of the scheme to reduce the size of the pub and convert the remainder into a three-bedroom home, councillors rejected the plan by just one vote.
David Beal, chairman of the parish meeting, told the committee that residents did not believe a “micro pub” would work and urged that it should retain its restaurant and rooms in the pub should become guest accommodation, especially as it could benefit from Malton’s reputation as a food centre.
Villager Jill Fothergill said there was a landlady interested in taking over the pub. “She has a wealth of experience,” she added. Her plan was to run the pub with her family and later employ staff.
Supporting the latest plan, Ms Fothergill said it was a "win-win"
scheme because it provide a home and at the same time retain the pub. "We don't want another Saltersgate Inn," she added, referring to the derelict pub on the moors between Whitby and Pickering.
The Richardsons’ agent, Martin Nicholson, said it had been on the market but no firm offer had been received. Two had been put forward but were discounted as being too low, he said.
Mr Nicholson believed that the compromise plan would be of benefit to Marishes because a smaller pub would be able to sell local beers. The venture had also won the support of the district council's licensing department.
Coun Lindsay Burr said that a recent site visit by councillors had enabled them to grasp the situation and she supported the scheme, adding: “It is not for us to decide whether it is viable.”
Councillors voted by seven votes to six against the plan, with one abstaining.
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