Cold Ashby former pub will not house Ukrainian refugees

Plans to house a family of Ukrainian refugees in a former village pub have been been thrown out at appeal.

Under the plans, The Black Horse in Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire, would have been used as accommodation for a family of five for up to five years.

The former pub is currently being used as a community venue for members of the public.

The original plans were rejected by West Northamptonshire Council in October 2022.

It said the plans would result in the "loss of a community facility" and affect the "economic and social sustainability of the existing community", according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Northamptonshire-based charity, Friendship Zone, which runs the facility, took the council's refusal to appeal.

It appeal was dismissed on February 1 as it conflicted with planning policies "resisting" the loss of public houses.

'An unnecessary loss'

The Planning Inspectorate found no "compelling evidence" that the venue would be unable to reopen as a pub and continue trading in the future.

The decision was also upheld on the basis that turning the pub into accommodation would be an "unnecessary loss"... severing its important role of meeting the "day to day needs of rural communities".

The planning inspector, J Moore, said: "The proposal would provide an opportunity for the community to show solidarity with the suffering of the Ukrainian nation.

"However, while I empathise with this, it has not been demonstrated that the proposal is the only way for the community to achieve this objective."

Paul Kuznecovs, director of Friendship Zone, said he believed the facility would have "really made a difference" to Ukrainian people wanting to relocate to the UK and "totally disagreed" with the appeal decision.

He said: "We are disappointed that our appeal has been refused; however, we accept strong feelings of some community members about The Black Horse.

"The part of the community has unequivocally spoken that while they support people of Ukraine, they do not believe a small rural village is the right place to accommodate refugees."

Follow East of England news on Facebook, Instagram and X. Got a story? Email or WhatsApp 0800 169 1830