New bid to convert closed restaurant

An application has been submitted to North Kesteven planners to allow a disused restaurant to be converted to a house.

Lisa Gregory is resubmitting plans for The Bell in Far Lane, Coleby.

A previous bid by former owner Paul Vidic to change its use to domestic dwelling led him to appeal to the planning inspectorate in June 2021 due to non-determination of the plans by NKDC. There had been objections by the parish council due to loss of the amenity.

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The plans were refused. However the inspector agreed that it was no longer deemed to be strictly a pub, stating: “Whilst The Bell retains all of the physical characteristics of a public house, it has not operated as one in the traditional sense most recently.

“The appeal site has primarily functioned as a restaurant during the appellant’s ownership and this change first occurred at some point during the period when planning permission was not required for the change of use from a public house to a restaurant.”

Ms Gregory re-applied for change of use in September 2021 but withdrew the following month, for reasons not stated, but there were still challenges about its usage.

In March 2022 she resubmitted the application arguing that the planning inspector had recognised it was no longer a pub and that the property had been unused for at least three months (closing in March 2020), to justify a change of use.

Ms Gregory’s agents claim the proposed use will result in an “enhancement to the Conservation Area.”

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