Rusty Bike Planning Application

Last updated: 2nd July 2017

THE RUSTY BIKE – Application for Change of Use to a family home

One of the applications that the Forum is currently being consulted over is the Change of Use of The Rusty Bike pub in Howell Road to a family home for the use of the current owner. All the details are available here. Before submitting comments on behalf of the Forum, the Steering Group, would be pleased to hear the views of our members. We are aware that half a dozen people, mostly from outside St James, have submitted objections, claiming the pub as a community asset, but what views are held by our members? Maybe you are more concerned that a family home should be welcomed as a move in the direction of increasing permanent residents?

We understand that the pub was on the market for some time prior to the owner deciding to apply to close the pub and convert the building into a home for his family, so the viability as a pub may be questionable. Those who have objected have not suggested how its future might be secured.

At a recent Steering Group meeting consideration was given to nomination of each of a small number of local properties as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), including the Rusty Bike. In order for such a nomination to be successful, clear evidence must be provided that the existing use of a particular building or piece of land is valued by the local community. Once nominated, should the ACV be put up for sale, suitable local community groups would have 6 months in which to put together a sound business plan to apply to purchase. There is no requirement that the owner would have to sell to the community, it is purely a measure that buys time for the community group. Exeter St James Community Trust would be considered an appropriate type of community body to submit an offer to purchase an ACV of proven benefit to the St James' community, but should the Forum refer such a proposition to the Trust, the Board of Directors would of course need to give very careful thought before developing a serious plan.

The Steering Group felt that the situation of The Rusty Bike did not lend itself as an ACV, unlike St Anne's Well in Well Street, that was successfully nominated last year, being adjacent to St James' Community Hub as identified by the Neighbourhood Plan. Furthermore it was not thought that its continuing function would be of such significance to St James' residents that the Trust, with its existing resources both human and financial, should be asked to consider purchasing and managing the pub. However, should the view of a significant number of our members be that the loss of the pub should be resisted, our response regarding the planning applications should reflect this. Bearing in mind the view of the Steering Group, it would be important for those in favour to suggest how the viability of the pub might be secured.

The deadline for representations is 28 March, so please send any comments by Monday, 27 March.


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