Scarborough council denies planning request to turn village pub into family home

The Ox Inn in Lebberston
The Ox Inn in Lebberston

Scarborough Council has refused a request to allow a village pub to be turned into a family home.

Kevin Makepeace applied to use the Ox Inn at Lebberston as a house following a number of failed attempts to keep it operating as a business.

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In his submission to the council, Mr Makepeace stated that he bought the business out of receivership eight years ago and that the pub was no longer “financially viable”.

Mr Makepeace added that attempts to find someone to run the pub had been unsuccessful.

Six people objected to the plans as did the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), which claimed the pub had declined due to a “laissez faire attitude to opening hours”.

Scarborough Council’s planning officers, in refusing the plans, said that the evidence supplied to show that there was no interest in the building as a pub was not “robust” enough.

Their report stated: “The applicant states that the vacant property has been advertised ‘over the years’ by a York-based estate agent, by a specialist pub lettings company nationally and more recently using social media, with ‘no credible tenant coming forward with either the experience or financial backing to realistically trade successfully.’

“However, it is notable that these anecdotal statements have not been substantiated by any empirical evidence.

"Indeed, although evidence of the period of vacancy and the extent of the marketing exercise undertaken was highlighted as an essential requirement at pre-application stage and requested during the course of this application, it has not been received.

“Without robust evidence, officers cannot be satisfied that the property has become vacant due to a lack of demand and that there is no reasonable prospect of its re-use.”

For this reason, and concerns about parking and the loss of amenities in the village, planning permission was denied.

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