Petition sparked by fears for Sheffield pub

The Plough, Sandygate Road. Andrew Roe
The Plough, Sandygate Road. Andrew Roe
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Regulars at a pub believed to have been open on the same site for 400 years have mounted a petition amid fears it could be closed and turned into a convenience store.

The Plough, at Sandygate, is currently out to let, and residents are concerned it could shut altogether to make way for a supermarket or housing.

A group of drinkers are also exploring whether it could be registered as a community asset to protect it from future development.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has been linked with the site on Sandygate Road, opposite Hallam FC, the world’s oldest football ground.

However, the retailer said it had ‘no firm plans’ for The Plough.

A string of pubs across Sheffield - including the Hadfield at Commonside, the Bradway Hotel at Bradway, and the Bee Hive at Wadsley - have closed to make way for supermarkets in recent years.

A loophole in planning laws allows a pub to be converted to other uses, including a store, without further permission.

Pursuing the community asset route would follow the example set by the Angler’s Rest pub, in Bamford, which was bought by villagers and turned into a local hub.

Crookes ward councillor Geoff Smith said he was due to hold discussions with planning officers to clarify The Plough’s situation.

“I’m aware of people’s concerns and I’m looking to help them in any way I can,” he said.

Petitioners say The Plough’s fate raises wider issues about the role of big brewery companies in the ‘steady decline’ of community pubs.

“We are calling on all the large pub companies to invest in, and support, their licensees, employees and local communities,” the petition says. “We are calling for a radical change in the business model of the large pub companies which has resulted in over 30 pubs closing every week.”

Mr Smith added: “There isn’t a huge number of pubs in Crosspool, so it would be a shame if one went.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We are always looking for new opportunities to open our shops in the Sheffield area, but have no firm plans for the site.”

The Plough’s owner - Enterprise Inns - was contacted but did not provide a response.

n Visit www.change.org/p/enterprise-inns-and-othe-pub-companies-save-the-plough-crosspool to see the petition.