Homes plan for ramshackle pub and hotel

The derelict Moorcock Inn.
The derelict Moorcock Inn.

A much-loved Ribble Valley inn that has fallen into disrepair could be demolished and new homes built on the site.

Members of the borough council’s planning committee who met on Thursday said they were minded to approve an application for the Moorcock Inn on Waddington Fell to be demolished and for four new homes to be built.

The application, which had been recommended for refusal by planning officers, will remove the pub and hotel, which have not been in use since the business ceased in 2010, from the Valley’s landscape.

The decision will be welcomed by local parish councillors who have supported redevelopment of the site.

They argued that the building is an eyesore and that reason alone should have been enough of a reason to grant consent to the scheme.

A principal officer for the Forest of Bowland area of outstanding natural beauty, in which the Moorcock Inn is located, also welcomed the removal of the building.

“By virtue of the domestic building scale, simple building design using materials and a style which mimics that of the area, alongside mitigation planting, the AONB officer is satisfied that there would be no significant adverse effects on the landscape character of the AONB,” said the report to the council’s committee members.

“In fact, removal of the Moorcock Inn and its car park, together with the reinstatement of previously lost landscape fabric are clear positive outcomes of the proposed scheme.”

There was one letter of objection sent to the council though and, while it raised no objections to the inn being converted or for one large property to be built on the site, the author said the application could set a precedent for people to buy rural buildings, demolish them and build new homes.

On recommending that the application is refused, the council’s planning officer said that building four homes in an isolated open countryside location did not meet an identified local need.

The officer added that approving the plans would create “a harmful precedent for the acceptance of other similar proposals without sufficient justification”.

Planning committee members, however, disagreed and said they were minded to approve the application subject to it being brought back to committee to run through the conditions of approval.