The Parish Clerk has asked for this information to be made public to villagers. It is also available as a Word Document on the Parish Council’s own website.
Morcott Parish Council – Report by Cllr Philip Giles – 6th June 2019
I met with David Pennell, Estate Manager for Burghley Estate today to discuss the Trustees proposals for the property. The facts are:
- The Trustees of Burghley Estate are proposing, at the Trustees meeting on Tuesday next, to sell the freehold of the building and land currently known as The White Horse at the eastern end of the village of Morcott. In addition, they will also consider the sale of the paddock area, the land alongside the vacant pub.
- The land and buildings are the only property that Burghley own in Morcott.
- The Estate Manager will be instructed to appoint an agent (three have been requested to provide valuation and marketing advice) to offer the land and buildings on the open market by private treaty. It is likely that this will form two lots:
Lot 1 The existing vacant building and associated car park area.
Lot 2 The paddock land.
- It is expected that the reports from the agents will be available imminently, an appointment will be made and the property will be offered for sale within the month.
- On receiving expressions of interest from potential buyers, the Estate Manager will then consider the offers that may or not be conditional upon obtaining planning consent. He will consider those that offer best value to the charity (Burghley Estate is a charity and is bound by Charity Commission rules on sales of assets) and those that offer a timely disposal. He will then make his recommendation to the trustees.
- It is likely that the parties interested in buying will put forward their best and final offers for the land either, Lot 1, Lot 2 or both during the next few months.
- Neither Morcott Parish Council nor the villagers will have any say in the disposal by Burghley Estate.
Who is likely to buy?
These are my opinions.
It is unlikely that a pub company will purchase the pub to refurbish and open as a pub/restaurant with rooms. The cost of the refurbishment is too great and therefore the residual value would be considerably less than the sale proceeds from a developer wishing to build houses on the pub site.
In my opinion, the most likely sale will be to a residential developer.
The development of the pub site for anything other than existing use will require planning consent. A developer is likely to apply for demolition of the existing buildings and the construction of new residential buildings of possibly 6 houses on the site, excluding the paddock land.
A vehicular access will be retained to the paddock land by Burghley or the new owner, for future development of that land.
There is limited scope for Rutland County Council as a planning authority to refuse to grant consent. The existing buildings are not ‘listed’ although they fall within the Conservation Area and whilst they have in the past been referred to as buildings of interest, this would be no barrier to demolition.
Any future development of the adjoining paddock land will require the planning authority to extend the Area of Development in the current Morcott Local Plan to include the land but l suspect that this will be granted at some time in the future.
A developer may wish to seek a planning application for both Lots and pursue an appeal if refused and if successful then both sites will be developed at the same time.
Should the sites be developed separately then the Council will not be able to impose conditions such as the provision of affordable housing or a children’s play area as the proposed number of dwellings falls below the minimum required for such conditions to be imposed. Should planning consent be granted for development of both sites then some benefits may be considered such as affordable housing, transport contributions etc.
So, the likely outcome
Burghley Estate will agree a sale to a residential developer who will then apply for planning consent for residential development of a number of houses on the pub site. Burghley may sell the paddock land to the same developer on condition that a further payment will be made on that parcel of land being granted planning consent. Or, Burghley Estate will retain the paddock land for future sale when the Local Plan is reviewed with the likelihood of the Area of Development being extended to include it (in 5 or so years hence).
The worst-case scenario
Burghley may receive interest from an individual who is a “cash buyer” without them declaring what their proposals might be. There are incidences elsewhere around the country where these “individuals” turn out to be “travelers” intending to establish sites for travelers with the ultimate intention of future development. These people are cash rich.
The site could then be occupied temporarily and visually presented in a poorer state than currently and with the potential of anti-social activity from the site.
Other commercial users may be interested in the conversion of the buildings for social care, care home, specialist care unit, rehabilitation unit etc. The planning authority would find it difficult to avoid granting consent for another commercial activity on the site due to the existing use.
What can be done if the villagers of Morcott want a pub in Morcott?
The Estate Manager is prepared to consider restoring the agreement reached with MPC whereby Burghley Estate refurbish the pub and let it to an operator, on the condition that the villagers of Morcott support an application for the development of the land and the paddock land for development of 13 houses.
However, this support has to be overwhelmingly in support of the proposals and sufficiently strong to overturn the informal response of the previous planning officer at RCC.
This will be the last opportunity to see a pub/restaurant in the village, to see a modest growth of new houses, both affordable and market value and a children’s play area. MPC worked hard to get some control on behalf of the village in what was to be the outcome of the White Horse and signed a memorandum of agreement to that effect.
There are now two options only:
- Support Burghley in their plans and have some say in what happens but generally speaking this must be in accordance with the earlier Burghley proposals and no fewer houses. (it was a total of 13),
- Do nothing and all control will be lost and there is every likely-hood there will be no pub in the village hereafter but very likely that a number of houses will be built on the pub site in the next 12-18 months and further houses built on the paddock in the future. (more than 13).
If it is option 1 then an immediate supportive response must be given to Burghley Estate. They will judge the strength of the village support and if substantially in favour of their proposals, they will defer their decision to sell. There will then be a discussion with the planning authority to determine how the villagers preference can lead to the extension of the Area of Development to include the paddock land and for residential development.#