Opposition is mounting towards plans to turn a Sheffield pub with a rich sporting heritage into a supermarket.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg has joined ward councillors and campaigners to highlight the potential loss of The Plough, at Sandygate.
A protest has gained momentum – in a survey of 600 people, three-quarters were against the pub being converted into a Sainsbury’s Local convenience store.
The Plough, opposite Hallam FC, the world’s oldest football ground, has a long association with the history of cricket and football, dating from 1804.
The pub was declared an ‘asset of community value’ by the council last year, meaning planning permission is needed before any conversion can take place.
Despite this, the pub’s owners, Enterprise Inns, have agreed to a 15-year lease on the building with Sainsbury’s.
Entering into a lease of less than 25 years means that Enterprise and the retailer can avoid triggering the community’s right to bid for the pub.
Peter Duff, chair of the Save the Plough group, said: “We have a really high level of community engagement, while Sainsbury’s have put out one letter and Enterprise Inns have never once consulted with the community.
“Sainsbury’s are likely to file a ‘change of use’ planning application with Sheffield Council by the end of July.
“However, the fact that the pub is listed as an asset of community value will be a ‘material consideration’ in any planning decision.
“This is the first test of an asset in Sheffield and we expect the local authority to give full weight to the fact the community has said that they do not want to lose the pub.”
Peter added: “A Tesco convenience store opened in Crosspool in July which begs the question as to the why the area needs another one. Another convenience store not only threatens the pub but also other community facilities such as shops. Even the local Post Office could be lost.”
A Plough landlord founded Hallam Cricket Club in 1804, Yorkshire’s second oldest team.
Members of the cricket club formed Hallam FC in 1860.
The pub hosted the committee rooms, changing area and function room for Hallam FC until the mid-1960s.