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The Anchor Inn at Seatown wins planning permission at last
A POPULAR coastal pub is to undergo a major refurbishment after 15 years of trying to get the go ahead.
The Anchor at Seatown faced fears over land stability and locals objections to increasing traffic but now West Dorset District Planners have agreed the pub can put in new kitchens and toilets – two years after the latest in a long line of applications was submitted.
The work will mean the seaside pub will be shut for six months from October this year while work is done – a sacrifice landlord Paul Wiscombe thinks will be worth it.
Mr Wiscombe, who has been landlord for the past ten years, said: “It is hard to say what it will be like being shut for five or six months.
“Obviously we are going to lose some trade but we are better off losing it in the winter – it is the best of a bad option.
“After a long wait talking and thinking about what it is going to look like afterwards it is very exciting to see the plans on paper.”
He said Palmers had chosen on of the top three companies in Britain to do the ground works.
He added: “It gives you quite a bit of confidence.
“It is a big risk I guess for the council to finally grant our permission after all these years.”
He said the work was updating facilities to modern day standards with disabled access, disabled and more women’s toilets and a bigger kitchen.
He added: “The pub shouldn’t change too much to the general public, most of the benefits will be behind the scenes.”
The pub will shut on October 1 and be open again by March or April 2014.
Jayson Perfect, Palmers Brewery tenanted trade director, said: “The Anchor Inn at Seatown is a historic beachside pub, one of the only pubs right on the shoreline of the Jurassic Coast.
“It’s one of the most visited places in Dorset.
“The refurbishment and improvements to the kitchens and toilets are needed to cope with the existing number of visitors during the tourist season.
“Our aim is to improve customers’ experience when they visit, not to enlarge the operation. “We want locals to enjoy coming to their local pub and visitors to go home with great memories of West Dorset.
The parish council, The National Trust, Bridport Environment Group, Campaign to Protect Rural England and the majority the 47 letters opposed the development saying the application was the same as one refused in 2008.
Richard Edmonds, Earth Science manager of the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site team said in a letter that the area was becoming increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic change.
He said: “It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the defences will fail.”
Planning officer Andrew Martin said: “In assessing the issue of land instability the planning authority is entitled to rely on the advice provided by expert professionals on behalf of the applicant.
In this case we have gone further than that and obtained our own independent expert advice.”