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  • Gail Collins

And Why Not...

We are delighted to have secured permanent planning permission to retain a large marquee at the Why Not Inn at Astwood Bank, Redditch, on behalf of Why Not Management Ltd.

The planning application followed an enforcement investigation by Wychavon District Council. The marquee is larger than what can be built without planning permission.

The added complexity was that The Why Not Inn lies in the Green Belt, where the construction of new buildings is considered inappropriate.

Despite taking over the pub just before the start of the Covid-19 crisis, and not being able to trade for significant periods, our clients have turned the Why Not Inn into a successful local business, now considered to be one of the best restaurants in the Redditch area. Our clients recognised the need to re-evaluate the Why Not Inn’s offer and sought to provide a community facility that reflected the local population’s needs, working hard to address the unprecedented challenges faced by the hospitality industry, and protecting existing and new employment opportunities. The installation of the marquee was key to realising this vision. The pub is now a significant local employer and there has been considerable investment in staff training, including apprenticeships. The marquee supports eight local jobs and makes a significant contribution to business turnover, as well as supporting employment in local suppliers.

Our argument in support of the application was that planning policy supports the retention and expansion of rural employment opportunities, and the retention of community facilities such as public houses. Planning policy also prioritises sustainable development and provides for the infill development of existing brownfield sites in the Green Belt. In addition, we argued that the marquee’s retention would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than a smaller marquee erected under permitted development rights which could be made of more noticeable materials or located more prominently. We pointed out examples in the local area of large marquees at other public houses, including within the Green Belt.

We also requested that the Council, if it determined that the marquee was inappropriate development in the Green Belt, consider the very special circumstances for its retention, including that the marquee is vital for the future prosperity of the business, and for the local economy, as it allows the Why Not Inn to compete effectively and sustainably. Wychavon District Council agreed and granted planning permission on 28 July 2022.


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