Decision to demolish pub on appeal will have ‘climate emergency implications’

PUBLISHED: 06:55 18 March 2020

Villagers have campaigned against Touts proposals since 2016.	Picture: Mark Atherton

Villagers have campaigned against Touts proposals since 2016. Picture: Mark Atherton

Archant

The decision to demolish a village pub on appeal is ‘upsetting’ for campaigners.

A government planning inspector granted permission for Tout Ltd to demolish the former Lord Nelson public house, in Cleeve, and replace it with a petrol-forecourt, convenience store, pub/café, hairdressers, beauty salon and offices.

The inspector found ‘no substantive evidence’ to justify the dismissal of the appeal on the grounds of ‘harm to living conditions’ of nearby
homeowners.

They also found the development ‘would be acceptable in terms of its impact on protected species’.

Jon Tout, managing director for Tout Ltd, said: “This is very welcomed and a great example of applied common-sense.”

An artist's impression of Tout Ltd's plans for the Lord Nelson. Picture: Tout LtdAn artist's impression of Tout Ltd's plans for the Lord Nelson. Picture: Tout Ltd

The saga had been running for more than three years when the boarded-up pub closed in late 2016 and was purchased by Tout – which owns a Budgens in Nailsea.

Last year, Tout’s plans were thrown out by North Somerset Council, but a three-day inquiry found the ‘benefits of the scheme would, on balance, weigh in favour of the development’ despite it being on greenbelt land.

Ian Fergusson, spokesman for the Friends Nelson Group, which campaigned against the site’s redevelopment, said the decision will have ‘wider implications’ across the area.

He told this newspaper: “The planning inspector stressed she only allowed this scheme because it retains a licenced bar, with a condition that it must remain a permanent feature.

The Lord Nelson has been boarded up since 2016. Picture: Mark AthertonThe Lord Nelson has been boarded up since 2016. Picture: Mark Atherton

“On that single issue, the village has lobbied successfully but residents must equally now ensure that business receives support.

“There will be many people, not least older residents, whose associations with the Lord Nelson stretch back to Word War Two, for whom its demolition will be very upsetting.

“Jon would gain kudos by saving an original 1935 element to incorporate in his new facility. It would be a nice touch.

“Not withstanding any possible court challenge, this decision has wider implications for the council’s ‘climate emergency’ declaration.

“The authority’s failure to defend it in this case, and the inspector’s cursory dismissal of those matters, implies it is actually an impotent material factor at planning appeals.”


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