THE owner of a Uttoxeter restaurant said she was ‘ecstatic’ after plans to raze it to the ground to make way for houses were rejected – but now fears a new battle could be on the cards.
East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously rejected plans by Trust Inns Ltd to transform The Parks, in New Road, into 28 homes, to the delight of many in the public gallery.
However, Helen Wood, who runs The Parks with husband Paul, said they could now be left battling a compulsory purchase order after they were told the eatery could be knocked down as part of far-reaching proposals to revamp the nearby A50.
Mrs Wood told The Advertiser: “We are ecstatic with how the meeting went, it was great. It went very well.
“However, our next battle will be against a compulsory purchase order. We have been told by the landlord that the Government wants to put an A road through The Parks.
“We have been told it could come into effect by August 2015.”
She added that she was told the A50 plans would be revealed to the public at Uttoxeter Racecourse, in Wood Lane, on Sunday.
The councillors heard that 20 people would be left looking for new jobs if The Parks was demolished and, despite a checkered past, it was now a success.
The committee was recommended to approve the plans by the officers but after a visit to the establishment the same morning members decided they could not pull down the historic building.
Councillor Ron Clarke said: “It is a facility in an area where it is needed. It is a crying shame that it is even being suggested to rip down an historical building.
“We all accept there is a shortage of housing but in my view I am not happy with this application.
“It is a facility where other developments are taking place around and it would be more beneficial in the long term for the business to stay.”
His sentiments were echoed by many of the councillors sitting round the table who believed the restaurant was worth saving.
Uttoxeter councillor Peter Ball said: “The location of the pub is ideal for families. It is a high standard of business that it is run to and in my opinion it is not just be a shame but it is disgraceful we are even contemplating demolishing this building.
“I do know that it is well used by local people and in the surrounding area and it has a good reputation.”
It was also pointed out that a condition for affordable houses was not included in the planning application.
Councillors unanimously agreed to reject the plans as it would mean the loss of a valued facility and because it would exacerbate the risk of a crash between a car and pedestrian as there is no footpath.
At the same meeting, plans for 49 houses on Pennycroft Lane were granted planning permission.
The site is currently occupied by the recycling centre but councillors asked for some guarantee that the centre would be moved before it was demolished. A possible locations has been identified in Dove Way.
The area was also found to be contaminated from its previous use but it was said the land could be made sufficient for people to live on.
Councillors also asked whether a water course was really needed through the site.