Estate agents pull the plug on pub plan
Plans to convert a Hook Norton pub into an estate agency have been put on ice .
Oliver James estate agents, which has offices in Kidlington and Oxford, had distributed leaflets in the village stating its intention to set up a branch at the Bell Inn, which has remained closed since it was purchased by new owners last year.
Adrian Earp, sales manager at Oliver James, confirmed last Friday (February 22) the agency has decided not to pursue the plan any further after it received a number of objections from villagers keen to see the Bell Inn retained as a pub.
“We were keen to offer the village a service but we didn’t want to upset anybody,” he said.
Parish councillors and residents held a public meeting in the village last Tuesday (February 19) to discuss the pub’s future.
Emma Kane, chairman of Hook Norton Parish Council said: “There were about 40 people at the meeting and 36 of them were against the pub being changed from a pub.
“That gives us a mandate to continue to campaign about it,” she added.
Owners Zoe and William Shapland have currently tabled a planning application with Cherwell District Council seeking approval for internal changes to the building.
The application seeks listed building consent for internal changes including replacement windows, a new window to the side elevation and a replacement roof to the rear over the courtyard.
Villagers have campaigned strongly for the pub to be re-opened as an inn and raised concerns about alleged planning breaches after the owners began renovation works soon after buying the pub last August.
Prior to the current planning applications being submitted the district council confirmed it was investigating the alleged breaches of planning control.
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