Landlord says Wiltshire Council decision to reject pub garden plans is 'crazy'

110423 George and Dragon in Erlestoke Google
The council said it would have encourage dangerous parking on the main road. Credit: Google

Plans for a new pub garden extension in Wiltshire have been rejected.

Wiltshire Council rejected the retrospective application for a garden extension at the George and Dragon in Erlestoke because it would have replaced some of the pub’s parking space.

The council said it would have encourage dangerous parking on the main road.

The pub’s owner Paul Gardner said he plans to appeal the decision so the result does not mean the garden will have to be scrapped.

The application argued the parking to the rear was a safety hazard to customers because its narrow access created a risk of accidents, so it is safer as a garden.

The spaces at the front of the pub can still be used although this space is public rather than part of the pub.

Mr Gardner said on top of this, permission had recently been granted to remove spaces at his other pub, the Bath Arms in Crockerton.

He added: “We will appeal it on the grounds that it doesn’t fit our business model to have a car park in the rear.

“We’ve had Covid and everyone wants open spaces now. We will keep appealing until it happens.”

Mr Gardner said the changes were an improvement: “All the tarmac was removed and landscaped. We planted it all up, put flowers in, stone, gravel and nice walls. It was hideous before and it’s pretty now.”

However, the council said: “The proposed development would be likely to encourage the parking of vehicles on the public highway which would interrupt the free flow of traffic and prejudice the safety of road users at this point.”

Wiltshire council also objected to the new wall at the pub which they say extends into the highway in a position where it obstructs visibility and the turning circle for large vehicles both entering and leaving the B3098 from and into the adjoining cricket club access.

Mr Gardner responded to this saying: “This is crazy because in another application we applied to put a pub sign up in front of that wall and it’s been granted. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Brother and sister team Paul and Alison Gardner made enough money selling hand sanitiser chemicals during lockdown to buy up both the Bath Arms and the George and Dragon.

Mr Gardner said: “They were both very tired and in both cases, we’ve made a massive transformation to make them upmarket gastro pubs.”

Credit: Jude Holden, Local Democracy Reporter