The convenience store planning application from Sainsbury’s was refused permission at the Sheffield City Council planning committee meeting this afternoon.
The decision was unanimous and the reason given is:
In the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, the proposal to change the use of the public house (Use Class A4) to retail (Use Class A1) would involve the loss of a building that is considered to be a valued community asset, which before its recent closure supported community groups and activities catering for the social wellbeing and interests of a wide section of the local community, being designated an Asset of Community Value.
The public house is considered to be well regarded by the local community and there are no alternative premises within a reasonable travelling distance for many of the individuals who use the premises.
The Local Planning Authority is of the opinion that insufficient evidence has been provided by the applicant to demonstrate that the use of the building as a public house is unviable and incapable of continuing to be used as such for the foreseeable future.
To grant planning permission in this instance would therefore be contrary to Paragraph 70 of National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which seeks to guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services.
Around 50 members of the public were present at the meeting. Opinions were given both for and against granting planning permission.
Council planning officers had previously recommended that The Plough should be retained as a public house and community asset.
What happens next?
The Save the Plough and the Sporting Heritage of Sandygate campaign group have explained what could happen next:
Sainsbury’s may appeal the decision – although we hope that as a responsible company they will respect the wishes of the local community and the decision made by the local authority
Enterprise Inns may leave the building empty and boarded up – however, we have already discussed with councillors the option of a compulsory purchase if the building is left in a state of disrepair
Enterprise could reopen the pub as a ‘managed house’ – although we doubt they would want to spend in excess of £100,000 to bring the buildng back into use
Enterprise could put the pub on the market – this would trigger a six month period during which the option of a community buy-out could be considered. Alternatively, another brewery or pub operator could come foward and buy the pub to run it is a going concern. We are aware that a number of local breweries/pub companies have expressed an interest in taking on the Plough.