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Home plan submitted for The Mole Inn, Monk Sherborne
10:40am Saturday 19th November 2011 in News
VILLAGERS are in a dogfight with a former Concorde captain who wants to convert a pub into a home.
Retired pilot Adrian Thompson has submitted a planning application to convert The Mole Inn, in Monk Sherborne.
It is Mr Thompson’s second such application, the first having been refused by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council earlier this year.
Mr Thompson, 62, a part-time property developer, says the pub is too small to be viable, having had eight landlords in the last 16 years. The pub shut in February last year, before Mr Thompson bought it.
But a group of villagers has formed a Save the Mole committee to oppose him. In July they wrote to him saying his plans would be “challenged at every step” and asking to discuss the options.
In response, Mr Thompson, of Church Road, Tadley, accused the committee of arrogance.
Emma Hampson, of Paddock Field, one of the Save the Mole committee members, said they have two potential buyers lined up, access to a certain amount of capital and have also been in contact with Hampshire County Council about funding for amenities. They had also discussed introducing a shop.
The 44-year-old mum and part-time marketing consultant added: “The prospective buyers are very keen but the problem is the developer wants an unrealistic figure for the pub.”
She added: “We strongly believe the pub is viable if it is in the right hands, refurbished and properly marketed.”
Planning documents show the pub was unsuccessfully up for sale at £395,000 freehold. Mr Thompson is believed to have paid substantially less for it.
Mr Thompson said despite their protests, he had heard nothing from the Save the Mole committee since the summer. He said: “I am a property developer and I have no interest in running a pub.”
He added: “The people who live in Monk Sherborne are in a social band that doesn’t use pubs. Even if the entire village use it regularly, it will still fail. It needs £250,000 to do it up.”
His first application attracted an 82-signature protest petition and 73 letters of objection.
But Mr Thompson believes that he has completed the right marketing and bat surveys that caused the previous application to be refused.
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