Withy Arms expansion plans refused by council (LEP 16/07/13)

wa image 16 07 13

Bosses behind a popular pub have hit out after their expansion plans were thrown out.

 Managers at The Withy Arms on Station Road in Bamber Bridge want to add a conservatory to the front of the building on top of the existing flat roof to provide additional seating for diners and extend the kitchen within the boundary of the building at the rear.

The plans would see the size of the pub double, the creation of six jobs and an investment of around £50,000.

However South Ribble Council have refused the planning application on the grounds that it would not be in keeping with the area.

Operations Director at the pub Lee Forshaw said he was “frustrated” with the decisions and planned to appeal.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it when it through.

“It is a ludicrous decision, it is a subjective decision made by a planning officers, their view of what looks nice is completely different to another person’s view.

“If you look at some of the other buildings in Bamber Bridge they don’t look pretty to me.

“I don’t think it will look out of place. We aren’t going to put something on the front of the pub that looks a mess.”

He added: “With many pubs closing at a rate of 18 a week we were going to invest tens of thousands of pounds in Bamber Bridge and would have created six more full time positions and because some planning office has decided that they think it will not look right it’s been refused.”

Mr Forshaw said he hoped the changes would kick start improvements to the area.

The council received two objections from members of the public about the plans, they related to it being detrimental to the area, parking problems, noise issues and the rear extension resulting in less parking.

In the report about the plans the council concluded: “The proposed development for a first floorconservatory would introduce an incongruous feature which would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.”

Lee and his partner have been running the pub for almost two years.

Originally The Top House, the pair planned to use the offices upstairs, and rent out the pub but they ended up taking it on themselves, seeing it go from strength to strength.

They currently employ 17 members of staff in the pub, both full and part time and a further five work in the offices which support the pub.

Source Lancashire Evening Post