Planners recommend Wetherspoons approval

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MOVES to convert part of the historic Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds into a pub could be given the go-ahead – despite concerns from residents and businesses.

Planning bosses at St Edmundsbury Borough Council have recommended that proposals be approved to transform the first floor and part of the ground floor of the grade II listed building into a Wetherspoons.

However, in a report to the development control committee, they have said that advertisement and listed building consent be refused due to the proposed signage.

The pub would operate from 7am to midnight from Sunday to Thursday and 7am to 1am Friday and Saturday. It would create 25 to 35 jobs

However, neighbours and leaseholders of retail units in the Corn Exchange have written to the council to voice their fears that the development would ‘adversely impact on the area’ with increased noise and ‘loutish, drunken behaviour’.

A resident in Barrow praised the proposal as ‘excellent’.

Bury St Edmunds Town Council said the pub was ‘out of keeping with the ethos of Bury’ and the Bury Society said there would be continuing concerns including the ‘potential increase in associated, unsocial activities that might adversely affect the amenity of the surrounding area’.

The society put forward proposals for the pub to have staff permanently outside the premises to control customers and curtail the late licensing hours to midnight.

The conservation officer has recommended that the proposed signage should be made of timber and plans for hanging signs left out. They would have no objection to the applications for listed building and advertisement consent if these amendments are made.

The planning officer said the business would create additional footfall which would ‘contribute to the vitality of the locality’.

When addressing concerns about noise, he said there were ‘few residential properties in the immediate vicinity of the site’ and other properties operated in the area in the evening.

The plans will be discussed by the committee on Thursday. Conditions include schemes to clear up litter and manage smoking outside the pub and for CCTV details to be agreed.