Last orders averted as Ottery pub plan rejected

Last orders for an Ottery pub have been extended after plans to convert it into flats have been rejected.

A proposed conversion at the Kings Arms was refused by East Devon District Council as the owner Graham Hudson refused to stump up a contribution to the local community.

Identical plans to create seven two-bedroom flats and one three-bedroom flat in the Grade II listed public house were approved in 2003, but planning permission was denied this time around as Mr Hudson, of Alansway Body Repairs, was unwilling to pay a Section 106 contribution.

This is the charge developers must pay to the council for the increased burden the new homes will cause them, and is spent on public open spaces.

He requested exemption from paying the charge, almost �30,000, as he believes the high cost of repairing fire damage to the upper floors will not generate the usual profit levels.

A spokesman for his agents Graham Hembury and Partner, said he has already paid a sum of �4,000 towards educational infrastructure in the area and was strongly opposed to the principle of paying his contribution.

A report from planning chiefs at EDDC said despite the information submitted by the applicant claiming a dispensation from the payment, and the previous grant of permission, the failure to ‘make adequate contributions towards the associated infrastructure cost’ was contrary to their policy.

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Mr Hudson was granted listed building consent to carry out the work, highlighting the fact the plans to turn the pub on Gold Street into residential properties were agreed in principle, and it was only the Section 106 money which was the problem.

Recent uses of Section 106 money in the town include the skatepark and the new footbridge.

Ottery Town Council supported the plans to convert the Kings Arms despite reservations over losing one of Ottery’s iconic pubs, but did so only upon the condition of a Section 106 payment being made in line EDDC’s figures.

Mr Hudson was unavailable for comment.