Top Suffolk pub gets green light to expand dining experience – and add rooms
PUBLISHED: 19:00 18 January 2020
A multi-award-winning Suffolk pub has been given the go-ahead to expand – despite some concerns that the project would be an overdevelopment and increase traffic on village roads.
The Turks Head will be able to enhance its dining experience and add bedrooms for guests to boost tourism in the county.
In the past four years, it has been transformed from a closed down pub into a thriving business and community hub.
Now it is planning for the future and is being permitted by East Suffolk Council to add a new rear extension featuring a flexible dining room and function space, improve the kitchen facilities, and build a single-storey building in the grounds with eight letting rooms.
Hasketon Parish Council is in favour of the project in principle but felt eight rooms was an overdevelopment and asked for action to mitigate potential problems caused by extra traffic. Several residents also wrote to agree.
However, council planning case officer Michaelle Coupe said: "The proposals represent a sustainable development that will sustain the public house, an important community asset, improve the tourism offer, contributing to the rural economy, and sustain and provide jobs.
"It would not result in significant harm to the character of the area, a designated heritage asset, highway safety, biodiversity and residential amenity."
The project was of a scale compatible with its village location, would create new jobs - six from the outset - and was in line with policy to boost tourism to the west of the A12, relieving pressure on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Turks Head, a grade II listed former farmhouse in Low Road, Hasketon, dating from the 17th century, has been named best pub in Suffolk twice in the past three years and best family pub in the county.
The new letting rooms will be designed around the idea of a converted stable-yard. It will be for families, couples and business travellers.
The extra dining space will provide much-needed additional space at peak times, and more flexibility in how the pub runs - with the new area able to be used or hired separately to the main dining area for conferences, parties and so on.
A report on the behalf of the pub owners said: "The additional dining facilities will therefore enable the business to promote itself as a location for business meetings. There are many medium to large businesses operating in the area who regularly seek external facilities such as this for off-site meetings, conferences or training.
"Local businesses such as BT, EDF and Sizewell also often require temporary accommodation for staff, and this is another area that the business would like to diversify into.
"The owners would like to offer 'stay and dine' packages as an additional diversification element. The letting rooms would be ideal for this purpose and would add to the district's tourism offer thereby contributing to its economic well-being."
The Turks Head has an important role in the community and is a venue for a number of activities, including Meet-Up Mondays, a Knitting Group, and is also home to a local Petanque team.