A pub in a village near Ipswich has been granted permission to operate as an Indian eatery – more than a year since it reopened as one.

In February last year, Nasir Jilani, the owner of The Chequers Indian Lounge in Stowmarket Road, Great Blakenham, submitted plans to Mid Suffolk District Council after he was told the building’s relaunch warranted a change of use application.

The applicant said the pub – then known as The Chequers Inn – was struggling financially before Mr Jilani took it over in September 2022.

Once it was under his ownership, the building underwent a significant refurbishment, including the addition of extra seating.

Mid Suffolk District Council approved the plans yesterday.

The building retains its bar and still operates as a pub. The business served food before the change in management, although the offerings shifted from traditional English to Indian.

Plans also detailed accommodation on the first floor to be used by employees.

Mr Jilani said the pub had been revitalised under his ownership and was unsure why he was asked to submit a change of use

A planning agent, on behalf of Mr Jilani, described it as ‘very much a grey area’ as the pub’s core offerings remained the same.

Great Blakenham Parish Council fully supported the plans and thought it would attract visitors to the village, although three residents expressed opposition.

The Chequers Indian Lounge took two accolades at last year’s Asian Restaurant and Takeaway Awards (ARTAs).

Mr Jilani, who still serves as a firefighter, also owns Jilani Restaurant in Sudbury’s North Street.

Mr Jilani has also said “It has been a very challenging and costly process to get this over the line and approved from the planners as I’ve had constant and unwarranted obstacles such as certain locals objecting without any real justification as Mid Suffolk Council have been complicit in making this as difficult as possible for me when they should have been actively supporting local start ups and small businesses who have taken big risks in investing in local communities and creating job opportunities for local people at a time when energy bills and overheads have significantly increased for us. Just want to thank the Local Parish Council for their support and our growing customer base for their unwavering support during these last testing 18 months.”

Read more here: www.suffolknews.co.uk/ipswich/news/pub-given-green-light-to-operate-as-indian-eatery-over-a-y-9358551