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Chedburgh 'community hub' at Marquis Cornwallis pub one step closer after planning application is rejected

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A community’s fight to save its only pub is one step closer to success after a planning application which would have seen the building turned into a house was refused last week.

The Marquis Cornwallis pub in Chedburgh has been a point of contention since it closed its doors in 2016, with residents launching a campaign to buy the building and keep it open as a community hub.

But the current owner, Kenya Trading, submitted a change of use application to St Edmundsbury Borough Council for the second time in November after another was refused in August last year.

Villagers in Chedburgh who want to buy their pub, the Marquis Cornwallis (6800401)
Villagers in Chedburgh who want to buy their pub, the Marquis Cornwallis (6800401)

The council voted to reject the plans again on the basis that it would be ridding the village of a ‘valued local facility’.

The decision notice said that approving the plans would ‘permanently remove the only pub within a village which already lacks a range of local facilities’. It added that rural pubs are important for their ‘contribution to the social fabric of the community’.

Jean Dillon, administrator of the Chedburgh Marquis Community Hub group, said: “We are pleased that the application has been refused and we’re hopeful that this will let us continue with our fundraising campaign and hopefully we will be able to buy the pub in the future.”

The group is aiming to raise around £100,000 on its own, before making up the difference with grants and loans, and is currently in the process of launching a Crowdfunding page.

“We just want to open it up to a wider pool of people and people who may not know anything about it,” said Jean, 38, who moved to Chedburgh just months before the pub closed.

“It really was a focal point of the village but obviously it hasn’t been for the last two years. It has so much potential for those who live here, particularly those who don’t drive, and it’d be great to have somewhere we could meet up and socialise.”