Conversion plans to ensure viability of Northumberland pub get the green light

Plans to downsize a historic Northumberland village pub to ensure its viability have been approved.

Thursday, 24th March 2022, 10:57 am
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 11:08 am

Permission will allow part of The Beresford Arms at Whalton, near Morpeth, to be converted into two homes.

The application has been submitted on behalf of owner Ross Hobson who took on the pub on a lease in 2018 before buying it in December 2020.

He intends to convert the events room and former restaurant with B&B at the rear of the premises.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Beresford Arms in Whalton.

They had previously been stables to the 19th century coaching inn until they were converted in 1994 into the restaurant and four large en-suite bedrooms.

Mr Hobson said: “We undertook the planning application as there was a significant risk to the business due to Covid and we required a Plan B and it was a possibility last year.

"However, we have a new management team with an amazing new head chef and assistant manager.

"With this, we should be able to move forward without having to convert it into properties by developing new food and drink menus to attract locals and tourists back to the Beresford.”

A planning report on his behalf also outlined the ‘significant cost’ of a large amount of repair and internal works carried out since he took on the lease four years ago.

The new properties would consist of two en-suite bedrooms at first floor level, with living, dining and kitchen areas at ground floor with accessible w/c’s. The proposals have been designed as to not as to not impact the existing appearance of the property.

Two parking spaces would be allocated to each new property, taken from the current parking provision.

Whalton Parish Council made no objection but asked for the application to be carefully scrutinised, especially the viability statement, given that the pub is listed as an Asset of

Community Value.

Planning officer Callum Harvey, granted approval with delegated powers, reported: “It is considered that the conversion of this redundant wing of the pub would not lead to the loss of the pub, and would instead ensure the retention of pub as a viable business which is of importance to the local rural economy and the local community.”