VOTE: Was the planning inspector right to refuse permission for B&B rooms at a Wisborough Green pub?

Villagers’ hostility to a plan by pub owners to build bed and breakfast rooms in its garden has been vindicated by the decision of a planning inspector.

The scheme put forward by Jill and Mike Goodman, owners of the Three Crowns at Wisborough Green, was described by residents as a ‘travel lodge’ style of development which would be out of place in the garden of the Grade II listed pub in the village conservation area.

Local opposition was so vocal it persuaded Chichester District Council’s north area development control committee to refuse the planning application by nine votes to one, contrary to their officers’ advice.

Now the planning inspector who conducted the Goodmans’ appeal against the refusal has ruled against the development, saying it would be detrimental both to the Wisborough Green conservation area and the setting of the listed pub.

Mr and Mrs Goodman had proposed two single-storey buildings, styled in the manner of outbuildings which might have been found at the 17th-century pub. Together, the buildings would provide five rooms for bed and breakfast accommodation which, the owners argued, would bring additional income to help ensure the viability of the Three Crowns.

They were supported by the district council’s economic development manager who advised diversification would help sustain the core business. In his report, however, the inspector, David Hogger, said there was no substantive evidence to demonstrate conclusively that dismissal of the appeal would put the future of the pub business at significant risk and he had attached only little weight to the argument in his considerations.