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Time called on pub house plan

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Time called on pub house plan

AN ATTEMPT to turn a village pub into a house is set to be thrown out this week following an outcry from the community.

Dr Anita Herdeiro and family have applied to turn the Brig Inn at Brydekirk into a house.

But their bid has attracted 72 objections from locals and given the strength of feeling in the community, planning officials are recommending it is refused.

The Herdeiros bought the property at auction in February for £70,500.

They now say it is unviable to operate as a pub and highlighted subsidence in the dining room area, which they claim means it is also not suitable to continue as a business.

Furthermore, the couple say council officials endorsed their change of use idea and that they received positive feedback in discussions with villagers about their proposals.

And they note that, as initially required by the local authority, they marketed the building for sale in February as a pub but that no offers to purchase it were ever formalised due to the subsidence issues.

Their proposal will go before the planning applications committee next week and in a report for that meeting, council case officer Carla Livingstone noted that the Herdeiros had been told earlier this year that a change of use would only be supported if there had been no commercial interest.

Despite the owners’ claims, she flagged up information from objectors which says potential buyers were blocked from carrying out surveys of the pub.

She also outlined other objections about the impacts on the built heritage of Brydekirk, tourism and the village economy, with many bemoaning the loss of a community facility and important asset, which had run from 1977 and which locals say was commercially viable.

Summing up the situation, Ms Livingstone says councillors will need to decide if they are satisfied that the facility is surplus to the needs of the community.

Advising them against the change of use, she said: “In this instance, based on the submitted representations, there appears to be public interest in the purchase of the building in order to continue its use as a public house, and a significant level of opposition to its change of use to a dwellinghouse.

“Given the level of public interest in this proposal and objection to the proposal from many members of the public, it is not considered that the Brig Inn public house is demonstrably surplus to the needs of the community and it is noted that there is stated public interest in the purchase of the building to continue its existing use as a public house. The proposed change of use would result in a loss of the only public house in the village.”

In addition, she believes the objectors have proved that prior to closure the Brig Inn was a successful business and was utilised by the local community.

Also, she reveals that Building Standards has confirmed that the main part of the building is structurally sound and there are no restrictions on its use as a public house.

Ms Livingstone added: “The submitted planning statement also states that the applicant marketed the building for sale as a public house in February 2021 but that no formal offers to purchase the public house were received.

“Notwithstanding this, five objectors have stated that they personally viewed the Brig Inn with a view to purchasing it, subject to survey. However, they each have stated that their attempts to arrange for their surveyor to gain access to building were unsuccessful.”

She concludes that the proposal is contrary to the local authority’s policies – but the final decision rests with councillors and will be made on Tuesday morning.

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