From: on behalf of DC Secretaries
Subject: FW: For the attention of Shona King


Sent: 26 October 2009 11:04
To: Planning
Subject: For the attention of Shona King

Mrs. Shona King
Planning Dept.
Cherwell District Council
Bodicote House

Dear Shona,
Here is the representation from the Bishop Blaize Support Group.

Planning Application for "The Bishop Blaize", Burdrop.  Application no. 09/01275/F

I am a member of the Bishop Blaize Support Group, a group of villagers set up 3 years ago to monitor the position at the pub, and to work towards restoring a well-loved and much-missed village amenity.
As you will know, there have been been 2 applications for 'change of use to private dwelling' in the past, and on both occasions the applications were refused on the grounds that it "would be contrary to Policy S29 of the adopted Cherwell Local Plan and Policy S26 of the Non-Statutory Cherwell Local Plan 2011, which seek to prevent the loss of existing village facilities which serve the needs of the community".  In our opinion, this would lead to rural decline in the future There are still many people who wish to purchase the pub, and to restore it to its original state. (There was substantial damage due to a water leak.)  Very many villagers are keen to see it re-instated, and have set up a 'fighting fund'.  This surely proves that the pub is viable, and could be the amenity is once was. 

There is a current Order for Sale on the Bishop Blaize, which has been suspended.  The auction sale was to have been on 22nd. July with Fisher German, and the amount of interest raised was astonishing.
This seems a strange time to put in an application for bed-and-breakfast accomodation.  If it  were    
already operating as a public house there would be some sense in it.  If the planning permission were to be granted on the condition that the pub was re-instated, then we would be wholeheartedly in approval, subject to  some reservations.  However we  need to look at this application in its own right.

The plans are very misleading, and lack much detail.  It is very difficult to work out the exact sizes of the rooms, and they appear to be very small.  Why then, is there a staircase leading from the ground-floor Bedroom 1, up to Bedrooms 2&3, effectively on the first floor, NOT as shown in he plans?  This is unnecessary, as access to Bedrooms 2&3 should be at the car-park level.  Also Bedroom 4 is only accessible through Bedrooms 2&3 which is clearly a non-starter, due to fire access, health & safety etc.  If bedroom 4 was not allowed, the roof-pitch could be considerably lower, which would be more aesthetically pleasing in a conservation area.  There is a concern that this development could be converted to a private house at a later date, and that is why the staircase has been included.  If this  application is approved, we should like to see some stipulation that the new additions can not be sold off separately from the licensed premises.

Whilst on the subject of licensed premises, why is the application at section 19 listed under C1 - 'hotels and halls of residence', and not under A4 - 'drinking establishments' as one would have expected?  (In a letter from Mike Buxton to myself, dated 2/10/07, he states "The authorised use of the Bishop Blaize is A4 (Use Classes Order 2005)  It cannot be used for purposes other than those falling into Classes A1, A2, A3, or A4 of the Use Classes Order without planning permission". Does this mean that the Noquets are effectively asking asking for change of use to C1 - hotels?  If this is the case, we are not happy about the back-door approach.  Would this be legal?  Also, under section 18 - Residential Units why does it say NO, when 4  extra units are clearly being applied for? 

We are also very concerned that the application is in the name of "Bishop's End".  As we are aware, although it has been closed for 2  1/2  years, the pub is still a licensed premises, "The Bishop's Blaize".  Are they technically the same property, or can they be separated as regards planning applications?  We have heard that the address  "The Bishop's Blaize" is not credit-worthy - could this be a contributory factor?  Also, on the Ordnance Survey map in the application, the words "Bishop's at Rest" are clearly seen.  Is this just another red herring?

I apologise for all these questions, but we would appreciate some assistance from yourselves, as this appears to be an application with many discrepancies, most of which might well be lost to the man on the street.  So, in principle, we would support any application which meant that it might increase our chances of having our pub open again.  The villagers would use it and support it under new management, and there are still people willing to buy it.  However we do have some reservations, depending on the outcome of our queries.

I look forward to hearing from you.  
Yours sincerely,

Eileen Haynes (p.p. Bishop Blaize Support Group)
Cubbs Cottage
Hawkes Lane
Burdrop, OX15 5RL