Loss of only pub in Slapton is ‘an unfortunate decision’

Carpenter's Arms
Carpenter's Arms

Villagers have lost their long-running battle to prevent their only pub being converted into a house.

The Carpenter’s Arms in Slapton was deemed to be marginally unviable in an Aylesbury Vale District Council planning officer’s report back in March.

The planning application from Alan Dugard, of Interguide Group, who owns the Horton Road property, was therefore recommended for approval when it went before AVDC’s development management committee.

However, the scheme was deferred for more information to be fed back to councillors before they voted on the pub’s future.

That vote went to the committee on Thursday, July 4, with members backing the conversion plan 4-3.

Committee member Cllr Peter Cooper (Wingrave Ward) addressed members but, as he had publicly expressed his views prior to the meeting, he declared a prejudicial interest and did not take part in the debate or vote on the application.

He told the LBO: “The committee, by split vote, decided to approve the application for change of use to residential.

“However, the property will still require listed buildings consent before any conversion work can commence.

“I believe this to be an unfortunate decision as yet another village facility has been lost by the Slapton community.

“The relevant planning policies, (The Neighbourhood Plan, the NPPF and AVDLP) all seek to prevent the loss of village pubs, but it appears that the District Valuer’s simplistic assessment of available financial details has resulted in Slapton losing its pub.”

The committee was told that since March, the council received an additional 18 objections, 16 from people who had not previously objected.

Comments included the pub being within easy walking distance for most people in the parish, Slapton WI would like the pub to remain a community asset, the pub is a hub for cyclists and walkers passing through Slapton, and that small businesses are required to sustain village communities.

But Mr Dugard provided additional papers to support his case, showing that in 2009 the pub had a £7,423 profit, but after that the losses were £27,678 (2010), £95,825 (2011), £78,413 (2012) and £80,983 (2013).

He added that the two previous tenants being made insolvent was a clear indication that The Carpenter’s Arms was not viable.