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Our village pubs need to be saved

PUBLISHED: 08:10 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:33 07 July 2010

The "irreversible loss" of pubs and shops to rural villages should be halted through more robust planning rules, a Norfolk council leader said on Tuesday.

The "irreversible loss" of pubs and shops to rural villages should be halted through more robust planning rules, a Norfolk council leader said on Tuesday.

William Nunn, leader of

Breckland Council, wants to curb the number of developers hoping to turn pubs that have closed into housing.

His comments, made at Breckland's cabinet meeting on Tuesday, came as villagers in Gardboldisham, near Diss, have launched a bid to resurrect their pub, the Fox Inn, which has been shut for two years and they fear will be redeveloped.

Residents at the Ploughshare in Beeston have also raised concerns about the future of their pub, which closed again this year after a succession of closures over the past four years, as reported by the Dereham Times.

Although, there, the developer has pledged to keep the pub open.

Mr Nunn proposed a resolution for the council to look into how it can increase protection for the last pub or shop in rural villages, especially those not classified as so-called service villages under the council's local development framework, as they already have a level of protection.

He said: "It has been a problem for a long time and I think it is going to get worse.

"Too many have already been converted and I think it is a

shame.

"We will never get them back."

He said too many pubs were bought, closed for 16 months and then lined up for housing two years down the line.

He received support from fellow cabinet members Bill Smith,

Mark Kiddle-Morris and Stephen Askew.

Mr Askew said pubs in rural communities were the "life blood" of the community.

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