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Campaigner calls for 165-year-old pub partially demolished without planning permission to be saved

PUBLISHED: 15:29 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:37 03 October 2019

Demolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc Betts

Demolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc Betts

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A campaigner is calling for a 165-year-old pub which was partially demolished without planning permission to be reopened.

Demolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc BettsDemolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc Betts

The Ark, in Norwich Road, Thetford, closed in June this year after serving the town since 1854.

To the surprise of residents, demolition started on the rear of the building in August, leaving only the original 19th century bar.

Breckland Council was notified of the work and the team was forced to stop, with an investigation launched as no planning permission had been sought by owners Chippy Capital Limited.

Now, it has been agreed that no more work will be carried out until a planning application has been submitted, with the already carried out demolition forming part of it.

Demolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc BettsDemolition of The Ark was halted after an investigation was launched by Breckland Council. Picture: Marc Betts

A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: "Following intervention by Breckland Council's planning enforcement team, work has ceased on the demolition works and the site has been made safe.

"The owners have advised that they intend to submit a planning application to redevelop the site in due course. The demolition of the public house is expected to form part of that application and the plans will be considered by the council at that time."

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But if the council refuses the planning application submitted by Chippy Capital Limited it could ultimately face enforcement action, which could include rebuilding what it has destroyed.

West Norfolk CAMRA member Jeff Hoyle has followed a campaign to rebuild another historic pub that was knocked down.

Carlton Tavern, in Kilburn, was knocked down four years ago but after an investigation by Westminster City Council developers CLTX had to rebuild it.

Mr Hoyle said: "The end goal would be to see The Ark re-opened I think.

"There seems to be a number of pubs in Thetford that have applied for change of use but there are also pubs that are re-opening and seeing investment so it appears to be a mixed situation.

"I have been contacted by a number of locals who feel strongly about the pub and would like to see it back.

"If the application is refused and the pub is rebuilt it would not make sense to then put in another application to knock it down."

Chippy Capital were contacted for comment.

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