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Car park will help Elm pub’s future sustainability

A pub is hoping plans to create a customer car park will help guarantee its future sustainability and support the owners’ plans for a better dining offer.

David Johnson of Elmsport Ltd, which owns the Sportsman pub in Elm has previously been granted planning permission for the change of use of land at the rear of the property to create a car park with new lighting and an acoustic fence – but that permission is now out of date.

He has now resubmitted his application with a variation to the height of the acoustic fence, which a design and access statement explains would be lower and more cost-effective and would also save the business £10,000.

A new application has been submitted for the creation of a car park at the Sportsman pub in Elm. Photo: Google Maps.
A new application has been submitted for the creation of a car park at the Sportsman pub in Elm. Photo: Google Maps.

The application has been backed by a specialist noise report to justify the height reduction.

In support of the application Elmsport Ltd has also previously submitted a statement explaining their plans and adding that local MP and Health Secretary Steve Barclay is backing their proposals.

The company bought the village pub in June 2017 when The Sportsman underwent an extensive refurbishment before reopening in November 2018 selling drinks and snacks.

In May 2019 it started to offer basic, but high-quality bar food and since then trade has also extended to include buffets for functions and music events have become an important part of the business.

There were previously limitations because of the power supply to the kitchen, but a £30,000 investment to change that means the Sportsman can now operate a full commercial kitchen – which has been another major investment.

The statement says neither Elmsport Ltd nor its directors have withdrawn any of their initial investment, and all earnings have been reinvested into making the business sustainable for the long term.

Covid forced the directors to have a new look at the business and saw the installation of an open-sided marquee, which has proved successful.

But the statement points out that during the colder months, there is a need to concentrate on food to keep the pub ticking over during the winter.

It says: “We are mindful that customers visiting for a dining experience, will also want to ensure they can park securely. To achieve our aims, we have formally appointed a head chef and extra kitchen staff.

“Parking at the property has been generally adequate but becomes overwhelmed when there are music events, particularly busy weekend evenings, or when there are church weddings or funerals.

“We are regularly asked by locals whether the land to the rear of the pub could be used to relieve parking pressures during these times. The extra staffing required to develop the business, now means there will be up to seven staff cars parked at the pub at any one time.

“This will have an effect on the available parking for customers. Four of the parking spaces have also been lost due to the need to increase the beer garden as part of the necessary Covid measures.

“The land at the rear of the pub would lend itself to offer parking to relieve peak pressures and we now feel the land would be best used to serve the commercial needs of the pub as it develops to meet future needs.”

The pub has been in existence since 1829 and was previously known as the Black Horse, and the statement adds: “We believe the pub and its offer need to be able to expand to meet current needs for its future survival, as it has done over its 190-year history of serving beer and food. We envisage a new traditional Sunday lunch offer would benefit from additional parking, along with the other high-pressure times mentioned earlier.”

The statement also says the plan is to use rolled Tarmac chippings which will help keep noise down and adds: “We understand the proximity to neighbours and would operate the facility in a professional and neighbourly manner.”

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