Northumberland pub faces permanent closure amid prediction of fall in passing trade when A1 dualled

Plans have been lodged to convert a Northumberland country pub into a residential dwelling.

Monday, 24th August 2020, 7:00 am

The Oak Inn, close to the A1 at Causey Park between Morpeth and Alnwick, has been closed for almost a year.

Causey Park Farms believe the pub is no longer viable and have submitted a change of use application to Northumberland County Council.

A report by the applicant states: ‘The Oak Inn has previously operated as a public house but in September 2019 shut down.

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The Oak Inn at Causey Park.

‘The business had been suffering from low trade for a number of years and had become very run down inside.

‘It had been through a number of different landlords in recent years none of whom had been able to make a success of the business.’

The report explains that the proposed dualling of the A1, taking traffic west of the pub, would remove passing trade.

‘A material consideration is the local market and demand for a public house within the local area without the passing trade of the A1,’ states the report.

The Oak Inn at Causey Park in 2012.

‘There is a continued change in the culture related to public houses and an unknown local market for a public house.

‘The potential for opening (not re-opening) a new public house with no established customer base during a pandemic, and the A1 dualling route significantly constraining economic viability of the business is not considered economically sustainable in the short/medium/long term.’

The report continues: ‘Whilst national and local planning policy seek to resist the loss of local services and facilities, viability is necessary for a business to be sustainable.

‘In this case, it can be adequately demonstrated that the former Oak Inn is not viable and has not been for a while when previously open, which has subsequently led to its closure.’

The change of use application does not include any demolition or structural operations.

The report states that the property has existing two-bedroom residential accommodation in the first floor and therefore cosmetic only internal changes will be required to the ground floor.

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