Landlady of country pub near Bedford wants to build a house for staff

It’s so difficult to get staff for a rural pub that the landlady is planning to build a house so her daughter can live close to the business.

Jayne Lee and her husband Martin have run the Plough, in Bolnhurst, for 14 years, and they already collect staff from special accommodation in Bedford.

The Plough Inn, Bolnhurst

The Plough Inn, Bolnhurst

The husband and wife team applied for planning permission to knock down a garage and build a new house in the garden at their home in Mill Hill, Keysoe.

Planners had recommended that the scheme be refused, so Mrs Lee appeared at Bedford Council’s planning committee on Monday to make a direct appeal to councillors on the committee.

She appeared with her agent, Francis Caldwell, of Bedford-based Aragon Land and Planning and told the elected members that she wants to “continue with the business that we love.”

She told members that she wants her daughter, whose partner is a chef, to be able to live close to the business. “We collect our staff from Bedford and we want to help each other.”

Mr Caldwell challenged the planning officers, who objected to the new house because there was not enough visibility for drivers to get out on to the bendy, village road. He said: “Substandard does not mean unsafe.”

He added that the difference between what the officers wanted and what could be provided could be reduced.

Councillors were sympathetic to Mrs Lee’s request.

Cllr Alison Field-Foster said: “We need to support local businesses, it makes sense to have a house for the staff. I am not in favour of refusing.”

Councillors voted to accept their officer’s advice and refuse the application on highways grounds. However, it was pointed out that the application could be re-submitted with the addition of a survey into vehicle speeds, to help make the case at a future meeting.