Part of a village’s only pub is to be redeveloped for residential use following approval by Huntingdonshire District Council.

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Bythorn and Keyston Parish Council had expressed alarm that plans for the White Hart could lead to it becoming solely a home.

The application was for change of use to allow it to be for both accommodation and a pub/restaurant. At the moment there is living space above the pub but the applicant wanted to introduce some downstairs too.

The parish council believed that the owner has no intention of making it easy for someone to take over operation of the pub – which has been closed since a fire in 2009 – as it included no accommodation for a potential landlord.

Councillor Alastair McEwan said in a letter: “If the change of use is granted, then the applicant will have achieved his aim and the premises will never open as a public house again and Bythorn will have lost its last commercial operation.”

If the applicant provides a fully detailed and funded proposal from someone who wants to open in the restricted space, then the parish council said it could be prepared to modify its objection.

A previous application to change the entire premises into residential accommodation was turned down.

The applicants, Jane and Richard Dempster, said that the heating and electricity had been split into two separate zones – one for the pub and one for the accommodation as well as fire exit signs installed.

They added further that a potential landlord could live upstairs.

They were prepared to consider a reduced rent or a rent free period to help with the cost of fitting out the pub if a year’s lease of the pub was taken out.

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