A former landlady has hit out at accusations she opened a shop in her pub’s place just to make it easier to obtain planning permission to turn it into housing.
In 2007, Carol Gibson bought the Bull Inn in Thorpe Morieux, but she says she ‘never recovered’ after the recession and became ‘crippled’ by a large mortgage.
She also claims she received little support from villagers and regularly had to ‘throw beer down the drain’.
After running it for six years, she says she fails to see how she could be accused of not trying to make it work before choosing to turn it into a shop.
She said: “I could not continue to run the pub at a loss, but needed to make money some how so chose the option of a bric-a-brac shop as, going this route, I could change its use quickly - not requiring planning permission as it came under the same class as the pub - and along with minimal outlay for stock, I could start trading as The Bull Inn - A China Shop rather rapidly.”
Residents campaigning to save the pub staged a protest earlier this month in response to a change of use application which proposes turning the premises from ‘a bric-a-brac shop with living accommodation to a dwelling’.
They want the pub to reopen under community ownership but had their £200,000 offer to buy it, the figure of an independent valuation, rejected shortly before seeing it marketed as a £425,000 five-bedroom, detached house.
Miss Gibson said: “If they were looking at it as a failed pub that they had to do lots of refurb to it wouldn’t be worth as much, but it’s not a pub anymore it’s a bric-a-brac shop and, as a commercial property, it’s worth more.
“They should come back with more money.”