Wreningham pub plans in the balance

A south Norfolk pub's plans for a village shop and post office hang in the balance after council officers recommended refusal because of the impact on the countryside.

The family-owned Bird in Hand at Wreningham, near Wymondham, unveiled a diversification scheme last month for an extension to secure the future of the 19th century listed inn.

But the project, which includes plans for a village store, post office, cafe, kitchen extension, and eight B&B units, is being tipped for refusal next week because of the three homes proposed as part of the development.

The owners of the pub, David and Gill Brake, say that the construction of three cottages on a plot of 'brownfield' land next to the pub's car park is integral to the success of the scheme.

But South Norfolk Council planning officers say that the development is outside the village development boundary and would 'erode' the openness of the countryside.

The local authority has backed the other extension plans for the Bird in Hand, which includes the conversion of a garage and store room into a community-run farm shop and post office, which has been identified as a facility of local need as part of a parish plan. The proposed B&B units were also a 'significant improvement' to a 14 bedroom hotel that has been previously granted.

The application will be discussed on Monday.