Neighbour says health at risk from flue at Crown in Minchinhampton

A WOMAN claims she has been left with health issues after a pub she lives next to installed a system which has caused her to be exposed to what she calls ‘polluted air’.

Imogen Johnston, 68, lives next door to the Crown Inn pub in Minchinhampton.

The Crown reopened its doors on November 8, 2019 after years of being unoccupied.

Ms Johnston lives directly next to the pub, and she says the Crown is using an industrial extraction system that is designed to remove harmful contaminants from the pub’s kitchen.

Ms Johnston said:“This air is blasted into my home and courtyard as the flue is just feet away from my house.”

After an investigation following Ms Johnston’s complaints in November, Stroud District Council confirmed that the pub’s flue, a duct for smoke and waste gases, was found to be in breach of planning rules.

A Stroud District Council spokesman said: “In November 2019 a complaint was made about noise and odour and a joint investigation was conducted by our Environmental Protection and Planning services.

“After Environmental Protection found that there were statutory nuisances due to noise and odour, abatement notices were served requiring compliance by March 2020.

“From a planning perspective, when the complaint was made in November 2019, the flue was found not to have been built according to plans drawn up in 2017. In January 2020 we told the applicant to address this at the same time as the noise and odour issues.”

The council’s spokesman added: “Work was done but then, due to the coronavirus lockdown, we could not assess its impact. However, we may still yet pursue planning enforcement action and we will be re-assessing the odour and noise issues now that the premises has reopened as of July 4. As we have done throughout, we will keep the complainant fully informed.”

Ms Johnston claims the extraction system is in exactly the same location and is still causing her health issues.

She said: “I have had to put up polythene sheeting across my windows to reduce the impact but it is still coming in and my tiny courtyard is now unusable.

“The pollution has caused me medical issues including a constant persistent cough for eight months and in July my doctor ordered an ambulance to take me to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital as an ECG (electrocardiogram) test was abnormal and my blood pressure was at dangerous levels.

“It was a frightening experience which I do not want to go through again.

“The most important issue is that the system was given planning permission to be installed just a few feet away from an historic Grade2* listed building, which is where I live,” she said.

“The Chief Conservation Officer told me the industrial flue was installed in its current location to avoid spoiling the view from a newly built, flat roofed lavatory situated at the end of the pub’s garden.”

A spokesman for The Lucky Onion Group, which owns the Crown, said they will not be commenting whilst they are working to resolve the issue.

“ I really look forward to this being resolved and to being on good terms with the pub once again,” said Ms Johnston.

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