Strength of feeling for village pub sees plans withdrawn

The Black Bull at Lowick
The Black Bull at Lowick

A community campaign to save a pub from closure looks like it has paid off after plans to use the site for housing were withdrawn.

Villagers in Lowick were last month shocked to learn about plans to demolish the Black Bull to make way for a quartet of four-bedroom houses.

However, the agents acting for owners B & L Properties have now withdrawn their planning application to Northumberland County Council.

The news was greeted with delight by pub regulars and the wider community.

John Huddart, chairman of Lowick Parish Council, said: “It made no sense as a development – four houses on a site that is extremely vulnerable to flooding, and at a time like the present. It would seem unlikely that insurance cover would be available, and most purchasers would be put off by this alone.

“From the point of view of a community asset – the Black Bull is one of our oldest inns, which still offers a warm welcome, a good supper and a bed for the night. All the evidence we have is that it can continue to to do so.

“Of course, the withdrawal of this scheme is no guarantee that the owners won’t think of another at some point – but they have seen the strength of local feeling and the support the action group received.”

Caldecott Consultants, who prepared the application, had stated the Black Bull was ‘commercially unviable’ as a sustainable pub, restaurant and hotel business.

They said a combination of factors, including Lowick’s remote location and the building’s poor state of repair had made it difficult to sell, with just three viewings over a two-year period.

But the plans were overwhelmingly opposed at a meeting organised by the parish council which was attended by more than 40 people.