Planning permission for pub after appeal

Paul and Andrea Johnson with Coun David E Clark, right, celebrate The Office pub in Morpeth receiving planning permission following an appeal. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Paul and Andrea Johnson with Coun David E Clark, right, celebrate The Office pub in Morpeth receiving planning permission following an appeal. Picture by Jane Coltman.

A husband-and-wife duo have thanked the hundreds of people who supported them after they were told that their Morpeth pub could continue to operate.

A bid was submitted last year by Paul and Andrea Johnson to Northumberland County Council to change the use of the Toll House, near Telford Bridge, from a retail unit to a pub (called The Office).

But members of the north area planning committee refused the plans after hearing from the person living in the adjacent residential property, who was concerned about the impact the noise and potential other disturbances from the establishment would have on her health.

The Johnsons appealed the decision and The Office was allowed to remain open during the process. They set up a written petition and an e-petition.

And now inspector George Arrowsmith has granted planning permission.

His ruling included the following: ‘I have no evidence that a significant level of noise is transmitted through the wall separating the premises from the neighbouring residential accommodation and I read that the council’s Public Protection Team has no objection in principle subject to the imposition of a condition requiring the submission of a noise method statement.

‘Further protection would be offered by the imposition of the suggested condition that no music should be played and no television operated.

‘I am therefore satisfied that, with the imposition of the suggested conditions, the adjacent residential property would not experience unacceptable disturbance from the noise transmitted through the internal wall.’

Mr Johnson said he and his wife were delighted with the decision and it was a ‘massive weight off our shoulders’.

He added: “There hasn’t been a single complaint about noise since the appeal period started.

“More than 1,100 people signed either the written petition or e-petition and we’re very grateful for their support.

“Apart from having to go through the appeal process, we’re pleased with how things have gone so far. A lot of people enjoy being able to come along for a couple of drinks and to catch up with their friends without any distractions from television screens or music.”

Morpeth town councillor David Clark was among those who supported the Johnsons’ application.

He said: “This decision is a victory for common sense.

“The Office is exactly the sort of independent business that we should be encouraging to Morpeth. It is already well established as a popular destination for sensible drinkers.”