Bath pub owner launches appeal to save 'lifeline' outdoor bar after planning row with council

Joe Cussens says the space helped The Hare and Hound stay afloat during the pandemic. Credit: ITV News

A pub owner has begun a campaign to save his "lifeline" outdoor bar after being told to take it down by the council.

Joe Cussens from The Bath Pub Company runs the Hare and Hound. The space was built last year after the first lockdown and played a major role in the pub surviving extended closures.

Recently the area has been refurbished in preparation for the easing of restrictions this month.

But Bath and North East Somerset Council contacted Mr Cussens asking it be removed due to a lack of planning permission.

The building of the space at The Hare and Hound was key to its survival during the pandemic. Credit: ITV News

The pub has now exercised its right to submit a retrospective planning application in the hopes of getting approval for the bar and the council has since said it wants to work with the pub 'to find an alternative solution'.

In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Cussens explained: "The bar isn't visible from the road, from across the valley or from any neighbouring property.

Credit: ITV News

"It looks fantastic and we spent a small fortune landscaping the area to make sure it looks as good as the rest of the pub.

"It provides employment to our staff and a priceless means of recovery for us after months of closure."

In response Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Economic Development, said: “We have already worked with Mr Cussens to resolve a separate planning matter at his Marlborough Tavern premises and there is a solution available for the Hare and Hounds.

“Our planning officers have made clear to Mr Cussens that we want to work with him on this solution and that we could support an alternative in this location, however he has continued with the works without planning permission.

“Our officers across planning and public protection have been working with businesses across B&NES to help them reopen, for example with our pavement licences of which 52 have been granted with only six refusals and we will continue to try and find a solution with Mr Cussons.

"Notwithstanding Covid, the council does still have a statutory duty to investigate all reported breaches of planning control and respond appropriately. No formal Notice has been served at this time as, through discussion with officers."

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