Bid to save Bisbrooke pub rumoured to be used by Stephen Fry

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Stephen Fry
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Residents of a Rutland village are being urged to ‘say no to the demolition’ of an iconic building and former pub.

The Gate Inn in Bisbrooke is reputed to have been frequented by some of Uppingham School’s famous alumni such as Stephen Fry and Rick Stein.

It was the only pub in the village of some 150 residents until the death in March 2012 of its licensee Ruby D’Arcy, who ran the pub for more than 40 years, with husband Peter until his death in 1987, then on her own.

Now Oxfordshire-based planning consultants Peter Frampton has submitted a ‘prior notification of proposed demolition’ to Rutland County Council on behalf of John Marzec informing the council of plans to start demolishing the building on August 1, with a view to building a new property on the site.

As the building is not listed the council only needs to be notified and no permission is necessary. The purpose of the notice is to give a council the opportunity to object if they disagreed with the method of demolition.

In a letter accompanying the prior notice the consultants ask for the ‘demolition of this dilapidated property and its replacement with a new dwelling’.

Villagers say they want to preserve the history of the pub and the main building they describe as “iconic”.

Two signs asking residents to ‘Say No to Demolition’ have already gone up near the pub, in Main Street, and Campaign for Real Ale has also thrown its weight behind the objections.

Resident and former parish meeting chairman Gene Dunbar said: “It is the first property you see when you enter the village, so it is quite iconic.

“I would not have a problem if they simply want to get rid of some of the later additions to the building. But the main building should be preserved.”

Parish meeting chairman Mark Wood, too, said demolishing the extensions would not be a loss unlike the whole of the 1850s property.

He said: “The people in the village that I have spoken to are all of the view that it would be a shame if the core of the property was demolished.

“There is also no application to say what it is going to be replaced with. Once it is gone, it is gone, As a member of the general public, if it is to be demolished I would like to see what is going to replace it.”

Spokesman for CAMRA Jon Whowell said: “We are obviously concerned about plans to demolish The Gate Inn. We will be investigating as we always do when an important community facility is under threat.”

Rutland has lost six pubs in the last 18 months and Mr Whowell said CAMRA was keen to preserve public houses because they are a “proven community asset”.

In a letter of objection residents Mr and Mrs Merton have called on the council to find a way of saving The Gate Inn.

“The building tells the story of village life, a living history,” the letter adds. “It has been central to village life for hundreds of years and it should remain to tell its story for hundreds more.”