The owner of a historic rural Herefordshire pub has vowed to fight a council decision which could see it close for good.

Sue Dovey, who runs the Live & Let Live on Bringsty Common off the A44 west of Bromyard, applied for permission to build three houses near the 16th-century grade II listed pub, which would have “boosted its financial viability”, her application said.

The proposal had been reduced from an earlier nine-home plan on pre-application advice from Herefordshire Council.

But three houses was “the minimum level required to help the pub to remain open and operational”, her application said.

The council refused the plan, saying the houses’ “incongruous design” would harm the setting of the pub, and questioned the plans for waste water disposal.

Brockhampton Group Parish Council also said the houses, two semi-detached and one detached close by, would “not be in keeping with the very dispersed layout of nearby properties”, and did not think the largely unsurfaced single roadway to the properties would cope with the extra traffic.


Bringsty Common Manorial Court, the volunteer organisation that maintains the common, made similar points, and there were eight other objections locally.

“I intend to appeal the refusal, hopefully before Christmas,” Ms Dovey said.

“My planning consultant feels we have good grounds for an appeal.”

Ms Dovey and her then husband bought the premises, thought to be the county’s only thatched pub, in 2002 after it had been closed for seven years and was under threat of conversion to housing.

After extensive refurbishment, it reopened in 2007, and “was very busy at first”, Ms Dovey said.

Hereford Times: Sue Dovey refurbished the Live & Let Live.Sue Dovey refurbished the Live & Let Live. (Image: Rob Davies)

“But since Covid, people have got out of the habit of going out. It’s less noticeable in cities. But our main trade is retired people, and we are still nowhere near our pre-Covid figures, which could take years to come back.”

A nearby caravan site, from which the pub also drew trade, “aren’t as busy either”, she added.

Already the pub has restricted its opening hours to three days a week, and will close completely in January and February “as we can’t make the overheads”, Ms Dovey said.

“Our electricity bill is now around £1,000 a month. Even with my family working for me it doesn’t add up.”