Decision deferred on Foresters Arms expansion plan

A historic Graffham pub's plans for a rear extension have been deferred by councillors.

Wednesday, 14th March 2018, 4:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th March 2018, 4:05 pm

The Grade II listed Foresters Arms has a timber framed 16/17th century core with a Georgian rear elevation with chequerboard detailing and Georgian casement windows.

A small single storey lean-to extension to the rear of the pub is proposed to increase the size of the kitchen, but Chichester District Council officers have raised concerns about the loss of the historic fabric of the building.

Although several councillors spoke in support of the application this afternoon, the planning committee decided to defer plans to allow for negotiations between the applicant and the council.

John Uphill, vice-chairman of Graffham Parish Council, described how they had been successful in their bid to make the pub a community asset in 2016 after the pub closed in 2015.

He disagreed with the view that the extension would cause any great harm to the listed building, adding: “Let the Foresters resume its life as the hub of the village.”

Meanwhile applicant Peter Bradley said they were trying to find an ‘affordable and workable solution to the kitchen issue’.

Officers described how they had suggested alternative locations for the kitchen extension as the importance of the Georgian elevations to the rear of the building ‘should not be underestimated’.

Bury councillor John F Elliot backed the application and said he saw no harm from the extension to the listed building.

But Tricia Tull described how the extension would cover about 20 per cent of the rear elevation of the building.

While she supported the aspiration to get the pub back up and running, she did not agree with the extension as proposed.

She said: “It’s making something worse that should be improved by renovations.”

Simon Oakley agreed, suggesting the extension was ‘inappropriate’ in its current position and ‘does not appear to be necessary’ to help bring the pub back into use.

On the other side Mark Dunn felt the Foresters Arms was right to turn itself from a more traditional pub into somewhere where people go to eat rather than drink.

He said: “We have to take into account the practicalities and take a common-sense approach.”

Gordon McAra added: “In a small village having a pub that functions is very important. We can get too carried away with regulations, we need to support this pub.”

After a 45-minute debate Bob Hayes, chairman of the committee, suggested deferral to allow officers time to negotiate an acceptable alternative with the applicant.

This was accepted unanimously by councillors.