The Kings Arms pub could be demolished for homes

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish and then build ten three-bed houses on the Kings Arms site in Longham have been put on hold.

The developers, Fortitudo Property, withdrew the planning application for the new homes after attracting dozens of objections, including from Ferndown City Council.

Dorset Council has now decided that plans to demolish the site, which are due to start on April 1, cannot go ahead without this application going through the full planning process.

Fortitudo, based in Commercial Road, Poole had asked the council if the site could be cleared over a two-week period using permitted development rights.

Objections to the application for demolition to be treated as prior approval consent have been lodged with Dorset Council by Cllr Julie Robinson, Ward Councilor for Ferndown South and Cllr Kevin Johnson, Chairman of the Highways Planning and Environment Committee of Colehill Parish Council.

In his letter of objection, Cllr Johnson said: ‘I object most strongly to the proposal to demolish the King’s Arms Longham on the grounds of the loss of the community asset which has been a popular local pub and restaurant, but also for reasons of protection of the delicate natural environment – including the Longham Lakes Nature Reserve to the rear and the River Stour to the front.

The demolition work would be dangerous for residents and other walkers who wish to access the public right-of-way behind the site.

“Current proposals to redevelop the site into 10 x 3 bedroom homes are unacceptable for a variety of reasons, but allowing this historic building and community asset to be demolished without any agreement on what will replace it could lead to an abandoned demolition site. . despoiling the village and potentially restricting access to the right-of-way for an indefinite period before any future use is agreed.

“I am not aware of any notice being posted on the site that the pub is proposed to be demolished – I repeat this paragraph from my email of February 26: I wandered around the site with a friend in early afternoon (Saturday Feb 26) The good news is that the Heras fence is no longer obstructing the parking lot and access to/from the right-of-way is now available There was no demolition notice displayed, nor any other notice other than that relating to the temporary closure of the pub.

Fortitudo said in a statement to Dorset Council that the site notice, of which he provided a copy, was posted on the site on February 28.

A report by a Dorset Council planning officer says one of the tests of being able to use permitted development rights for demolition is which category the building is listed in – with the council arguing that if much of its Earlier income in subsequent years came from food sales, it remained, in terms of planning, as a pub.

“As such, the last known use of the ‘Kings Arms’ building is as a drinking establishment with an expanded food supply, so it does not qualify for permitted development rights,” the report states.

He also says council would have needed more information about the demolition, including pollution protection measures for the floodplain around Longham Lakes, which was not provided with the application.

The report concluded that prior permission is required for the demolition and is denied as it does not constitute a permitted development. A notice of decision states that full planning permission will be required before work is undertaken, although there is a right to appeal the decision.