Inspector rules over plan to transform former Huntingdon pub

The Sun pub, Hartford Road, Huntingdon.

The Sun pub, Hartford Road, Huntingdon. - Credit: Archant

The Planning Inspectorate has upheld an appeal against refusal to grant permission to convert a former pub in Huntingdon into five new properties.

Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management panel refused to grant Ambury Developments permission to covert the Sun pub and its surrounding land into five new homes last year, citing concerns over parking in the vicinity.

Residents had complained to the council that the development had insufficient parking and would result in cars being parked in the surrounding roads which, they argued, were already full.

The developer lodged an appeal, however, and, on May 9, the planning inspector announced his decision to uphold the application, thereby granting permission for work on the pub, in Hartford Road, to go ahead.

In his report, the inspector said: “The proposal would remove the public house use which itself could generate a significant car parking and servicing demand, would improve visibility and would provide a section of footpath.

“Moreover, it seems to me that there are potential remedies available such as residents’ parking schemes that could help address existing problems.

“I conclude that the amount of parking provided within the site would not result in such a significant adverse effect on the safety and convenience of all users of the highway to the extent that permission should be withheld on this basis.”

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The inspector added that he though the conversion of the public house would provide a “positive benefit” to the character of the area.

Simon Richardson, of GamPlan Associates, acting on behalf of Ambury Developments, welcomed the inspector’s decision.

He said: “Although my client is obviously very happy with the result of the appeal, it remains a simple matter of fact that it has taken almost 18 months from the time the scheme was agreed with officers to gaining the formal planning permission, with the costs and uncertainty of the delay born by nobody who made the decision to refuse the planning application.

“Hopefully the distrust of experts will be considered a bit more carefully in future.”

Paul Jefferies, who led a resident’s campaign against the plans, said: “It is disappointing that the planning inspector chose to ignore the local issues in spite of all the evidence and chose to visit the street when it is known that the issues are not present.

“On a positive note it is pleasing to see that the site will be developed as it is unsightly.”