'Don't replace our pub garden with housing', say Newport campaigners
- Credit: Archant
Developers have launched a third attempt to build homes on land behind a Newport village pub.
Property developer Cordage 9 has submitted plans to build four homes behind the Coach and Horses on Cambridge Road.
Some villagers are worried the plan will destroy a "vital" community asset.
More than 700 letters objecting to housing behind the pub have been sent to planning authorities since Cordage 9 first planned to build five houses on the site in April 2020.
Uttlesford district councillors will debate the plans at a meeting if officers say the site is suitable for new homes.
Paul Long, who lives in the village, said the pub is a "hub" to him and his family.
Paul said: "My dad has been coming here for the last 30 years.
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"For me and my daughter, the garden is important as it gives us a place to see grandad for a Sunday lunch.
"We enjoy Gaynor Fest, which uses the whole of the garden for live music, and my daughter Polly used to enjoy the playground they set up here.
"It is very much a hub for families."
Some residents have raised their concerns on UDC's online "public access" portal.
In one letter, resident Mark Ward accused developers of "corporate greed".
He wrote: "The 'Coach' is so vitally important to the village.
"If it is hemmed in by houses the owners of these may well object to the sounds and the smells of the pub's business and so, by their very presence, bring about the pub's demise."
Councillor Andrew Sampson has been coordinating a campaign to list the pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and stop the development.
Cllr Sampson said: "The pub garden is vital as the only usable outdoor space of its type in the area and is of huge value to the community.
"It would also be good to have ACV status taken into account in the planning process, especially if we can get it through in time."
ACV status means that the Coach and Horses would join a community 'register' and, in the most extreme case, would mean that the district council could purchase the land on behalf of the village.
Cordage 9's planning agent, CPC Limited, said the site is "capable of accommodating new residential development".
CPC's report notes that a planning inspection in the past concluded that development on the site would be of "significant public benefit" if new homes reduced a shortfall in housing supply in Uttlesford.
The pub would gain a new car park in the plans.
A CPC spokesperson said its client had no comment to make.