AN old pub near Didcot could be converted into housing.

The Horse and Harrow pub, in Main Street, West Hagbourne, could be turned into a three-bed home and a four-bed home while two new homes could be adjacent to the pub.

Cordage 7 Ltd have applied to South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, to change the use of the pub and to build the new homes.

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In a design and access statement, the applicant said: “The proposal would benefit the local economy as it would increase the number of people in the village, which would lead to more people using local services.

“The conversion of the property and erection of new dwellings will provide much-needed workflow to smaller local construction companies and associated contractors.

“The proposal for the new dwellings would benefit the local economy as it will provide new households of consumers and an increase to local authority revenue.”

It added that there are ‘nine suitable’ alternative public houses nearby such as the George & Dragon in Upton, The Royal Oak in Didcot, and The Fleur De Ly in East Hagbourne.

It further states there are six venues suitable for hosting gatherings such as Upton Village Hall and St Mary The Virgin Church in Upton.

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Cordage 7 Limited added that is ‘no longer commercially viable’.

It said: “The business will not be able to deliver a reasonable annual profit and attract operators looking to rent or buy the property at a reasonable and sustainable level of return.”

“Therefore, it is considered that the property is not commercially viable now and in the longer term.”

The current landlords of the pub, Tony Baldasera and Helen Hughes, have supported the application.

In a letter of support, they said: “We have been at the Horse & Harrow for over 11 years and despite many years of hard work, the pub is simply unviable, continuing to lose money.

“We have reviewed the above planning application and wish to offer [our] support for this scheme. Cordage have engaged from the outset and this proposal will finally release us from the pub.”

However, West Hagbourne Parish Council have recommended the application be rejected.

It said: “The whole project will alter the entrance to the village as set out in the conservation area assessment.

“The buildings on the grass area opposite the existing pub will destroy what remains of its setting.  

"The building benefits from an informal green setting, appropriate to its location on the edge of the village "

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The planning authority will make a decision by December 23.


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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