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The Queen, at Brandeston, near Woodbridge and Framlingham, change of use application receives nearly 250 objections





Hundreds of objections have been made against plans to turn a village pub into a home.

The proposal for The Queen, in Brandeston, near Framlingham, has sparked nearly 250 objections and six supporting comments.

Brandeston Parish Council has also officially lodged its opposition, which was voted on in a meeting in January.

The change of use application at The Queen, in Brandeston received nearly 250 objections. Picture: Google Maps
The change of use application at The Queen, in Brandeston received nearly 250 objections. Picture: Google Maps

But applicant Mark Cunningham said he believed the planning process would ‘take its due and legitimate process’ and no legal process should be influenced by a ‘scripted campaign’.

In its objection, the parish council challenged a previous viability report into The Queen, by agent Savills.

The parish said Mr and Mrs Cunningham had removed the pub’s commercial kitchen since occupying the premises, with the parish council adding how the viability report only considered the ‘historic trade’ of sellers The Aitchisons, who took on The Queen in 2015, and that ‘the premises traded successfully as a pub under all previous occupiers’.

Brandeston Parish Council met on January 8 to discuss the plalication for The Queen, to which it unanimously objected. Picture: Ross Waldron
Brandeston Parish Council met on January 8 to discuss the plalication for The Queen, to which it unanimously objected. Picture: Ross Waldron

Brandeston Parish Council employed Nigel Thirkell, a chartered surveyor with 40 years’ experience, to assess the Savills viability report.

He concluded the report was based on inaccuracies and flawed assumptions, while a large amount of factual information irrelevant to The Queen was included.

Mr Thirkell said he believed the property was capable of viable use and called for East Suffolk Council to ignore the Savills viability report.

The pub closed in November 2022 and was placed on the market for £500,000.

Dan Poulter MP and Cllr Vince-Langdon Morris previously expressed their opposition to the plan.

The parish council also attached a statement by former landlord Alan Randall, who ran the pub with his partner Jane from 2006 to 2012.

Mr Randall said during his time at the pub it had a good reputation for food and they fended off competition from nearby venues.

He also highlighted a nearby campsite that provided repeat business year-on-year.

However, Mr Cunningham said the pub was not viable for trade, while he had extended the offer to the community to buy the pub on previous occasions.

He said: “No legal process should be influenced by a scripted campaign, as has been the case here in the trial by media and social media.

“If you read the objections they stretch all over the country – even to the Philippines – and strangely enough all quote the same topics.”

He said the pub had lost £565,000 in operating costs dating back to 2015 and the community had been given three opportunities to buy it.

Mr Cunningham said he had not taken out the commercial kitchen as was suggested, but defunct kitchen equipment was removed.

He added that the village hall should be the heart of the community and where village fetes should be held.

The pub was made an asset of community value (ACV) in 2022.

Many of those objecting to the plans said the pub had thrived before the pandemic – with its garden hosting the village fete in the past – and spoke of the ‘great loss’ to the community if the plans were approved.

Helen Fletcher, of Brandeston, said: “If change of use is granted the precedent is set: anyone can purchase a pub, irrespective of whether it is marketed as a going concern, and unilaterally declare that it should not exist, even when it is an ACV.

“The purchaser gains a large, cheap house and a village loses its heart.”

A determination on the application was due yesterday.