Northumberland pub could be downsized as part of plan to ensure it remains viable

The Beresford Arms, Whalton.The Beresford Arms, Whalton.
The Beresford Arms, Whalton.
Plans have been lodged to downsize a historic Northumberland village pub to ensure its viability.

If approved, part of The Beresford Arms at Whalton, near Morpeth, would 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 last December.

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

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: “The pandemic has affected the business and we are trying to make sure we have options in front of us in case the financial situation for the hospitality industry does not improve. The intention is that the pub and restaurant will remain.”

A planning report submitted with the application states that the property was in very poor condition when Mr Hobson took over the lease in March 2018.

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‘A large amount of repair and internal works had to be carried out to bring the internals up to date in order to trade, this took a number of months at significant cost,’ says the report by Thornton Architectural.

‘The building was leased initially with an option to purchase and actual purchase of the property took place and in completed December 2020.

‘The pandemic has seriously affected the business financially and the conversion of the rear elements to domestic dwellings is to aid the financial pressures that have been placed on the landlord and owner, but allowing the pub and restaurant to be retained and remain a viable business and continue to provide the amenities to the local village.’

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.

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

Both properties would be sold on the open market if the application is approved.

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