Mystery over plans for redundant West Lavington pub

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The former Stage Post in West Lavington The former Stage Post in West Lavington

Mystery surrounds a planning application submitted for the derelict Stage Post pub in West Lavington.

The scheme, by FPC (West Lavington), is seeking permission to demolish the function room and other outbuildings at the rear of the former pub and seems to suggest this could result in the pub trading again.

The pub, on the A360, has been closed since February 2010 and is boarded up.

A previous application, put in last September, to demolish the pub and build a Budgens supermarket and six houses was withdrawn following opposition to the store.

Budgens has confirmed it is no longer interested in the site.

In the new application, FPC says the building is too large to fulfil its function as a village pub and, in particular, the function room at the rear is surplus to requirements.

It says: “The demolition works [of the function room] will reduce the public house from a gross ground floor area of approximately 395 square metres to around 327 square metres, much closer to its original size.

“By comparison, the Bridge public house in West Lavington has a gross ground floor area of approximately 222 square metres, demonstrating that it is possible to run a successful village pub at such a size.

“The proposed floor space of the Stage Post will be ample to accommodate customer areas, circulation space, toilets and kitchens. The reconfigured pub will be a more suitable size for its market, giving it improved commercial prospects.”

Plans also show a replacement beer garden at the rear, in place of the function room and rear extensions.

FPC, a limited liability partnership, is based in Harley Street, London, and was established on March 27 this year.

Its agent, Jason Bonner, of PLC Architects in Portsmouth, did not return the Gazette’s call for information about the scheme.

The Stage Post is owned by Punch Taverns and a spokesman said: “We can confirm that contracts have been exchanged and the sale is expected to complete at the end of the month.

“We cannot comment on the planning application, as this was not submitted by Punch and it is not our place to comment on their intentions.”

West Lavington Parish Council discussed the bid on Thursday.

Clerk Peter Baxter said: “The council supported the demolition of the outbuildings as this will result in tidying up the site.

“We don’t know what the ultimate intention is for the Stage Post. We don’t know who FPC is and whether they are publicans or middle men to create an asset.”

The village has two pubs: the Churchill Arms and the Bridge.

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