After the planning application to construct two new three-bedroom houses attached to the Purefoy Arms, was turned down by Basingstoke councillors in October, local residents are now awaiting the next move by Red Oak Taverns and are hopeful that the company will discuss future steps with the community first as managing director, Mark Gunnell, has promised.
Mark Grunnell, the managing director of Red Oak Taverns, promised to talk to the people of Preston Candover before there are any further developments at the Purefoy Arms, the 18th century public house and restaurant in the village.
Red Oak Taverns (ROT), had applied for planning permission to convert part of the premises into separate residential properties for sale but Basingstoke and Deane borough councillors voted unanimously on Wednesday, 10 October to refuse the planning application.
Local residents feared that ROT’s plans, to convert and extend the outbuildings of the Grade II listed building into two houses for sale, would have a profound detrimental effect on the long term viability of the pub and eventually lead to its closure.
Following the rejection of the application by all of the members of the council’s Development Control Committee, in the presence of many Candover residents, Mark Grunnell, the MD of Red Oak Taverns, who was present at the meeting, was invited to discuss future plans with the community.
In a report in the Southern Evening Echo on Monday 15 October, he was reported as saying:
“Having attended the planning hearing personally, I heard the concerns raised by the local community and fully understand their position. Whilst I think it is unlikely that we will appeal, we have yet to make any firm decision.
“What I can say is that we will certainly be engaging with local community representatives to examine all options for bringing the disused outbuilding into use for the future benefit of the pub and community, before we move forward with anything else.”
A campaign initiated by a small group of Preston Candover residents had gathered some 120 objections to the planning proposals, and Stevan Hoyle, one of the leaders of the opposition campaign, said: “This is a very welcome initiative by Mr Grunnell and we look forward to meeting him again in different, and hopefully, more positive circumstances. I hope that we can find a solution which will meet both Mr Grunnell’s needs and those of the community.”
The reasons behind the decision of Basingstoke councillors to refuse the application were set out in the attached decision statement.