New pub ‘not likely to lead to trouble’

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PUBS giant Wetherspoons has outlined how it hopes to gain planning permission for the Corn Exchange, in Bury St Edmunds.

The firm, which is looking to lease the first floor of the grade II listed building, had been left with an uphill struggle after concerns over the impact on residents and businesses saw a previous pub application for the site turned down.

That application was made by St Edmundsbury Borough Council to try to help market the 150-year-old building, but was refused by the same authority’s councillors

But Wetherspoons, which operates 780 pubs, dismissed the council application as ‘speculative’. It said planning inspectors at appeals where councils had refused planning permission, had backed the pub giant’s ability to deal with anti-social behaviour.

“It is apparent that there have been few complaints or reports of anti-social and disturbing behaviour associated with Wetherspoon public houses throughout the UK,” said a Wetherspoons planning statement.

It quotes a planning inspector at an appeal in Wath-upon-Dearne who said: “The appellant company appears to be experienced and aware of the potential problems and seeks to counter them through good management policy and practice including well trained staff, frequent supervision and the use of CCTV monitoring.”

At another appeal in Carmarthen, the inspector said: “The establishment would be operated by JD Wetherspoon in their usual diligent and well-controlled way, which is documented throughout the country, and as such would be unlikely to lead to any unruly behaviour.”

The council conservation officer, meanwhile, says the building has been used for beer festivals without ‘problems associated with large groups of people, noise and smoking’.

The application is currently subject to a 28-day consultation and will be decided by the council’s development control committee in the next few months.