Residents living near the historic Sandrock pub in Upper Shirley Road are celebrating after council planning officials rejected a scheme by developers to build a remarkably ugly four-storey block of flats in the car park of the listed building.
Locals have been battling against the over-development of the site for almost two years, since the pub was sold to developers and then promptly closed. This latest planning application was the developers’ second, and an intensive campaign run by residents led to 157 objections being made during the consultation.
The outcome is that the plans have been rejected for nine separate reasons, so it would seem unlikely that any appeal would have much a chance of success.
Even the developers’ own consultants produced a report which suggested that the project would struggle to be viable.
Among the reasons given for the rejection is that there would have been insufficient family accommodation, the proposed building would be harmful to the character of the area because of its scale and design, the loss of trees and animal habitats, lack of parking space, sub-standard accommodation, no affordable homes and detriment to highway safety.
It is also the case that although the plans indicated that it was the intention that the pub would be re-opened, it was obvious that this was just a ruse to obtain planning permission, because a pub which had traditionally relied on customers travelling to the premises by car would not be viable if there was no provision for parking.
Residents now hope that the developers give up this project and sell the pub to someone who will re-open it so it can revert to being the community asset it was for the previous 165 years.
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Let’s hope that this cheerful-looking old pub is saved as a pub, along with a car park to allow drinkers to get there. Successful conversions of pubs to residential are few and far between.
I am wondering if permission could be obtained to excavate some caves in the sandstone, under the pub, to create a microbrew house and pub under ground. Cool in Summer and “cool” in general.