Angry residents are gearing up for a fight to save a much-loved pub branded ‘the heart of the community’ from demolition.
Plans to knock down the Holme Lea pub in Handsworth and replace it with a three-storey block of 27 residential apartments have been submitted to Sheffield Council.
Campaigners have said the demolition would ‘rip the soul’ out of the community it serves.
The plans submitted by architect and consultancy firm MaxDesign have already sparked a raft of opposition from residents, a charity and a councillor.
An online petition has been signed by around 400 people. Many more have signed a paper version.
Petition organiser Jack Ku said it would be a tragedy if the plans get the go-ahead.
Mr Ku, aged 40, of Medlock Road, Handsworth said: “Getting rid of Holme Lea will be a disaster, it will rip the soul out of this area.
“It really is at the heart of the community. It offers more than a place to drink, it raises money for charity and supports a local dance school providing facilities free of charge.
“Many people come here to meet up, young and old use the place for a variety of things.
“I understand the need for more housing, we have a national shortage, I accept that, but there is a nursery directly opposite and lots of school children in a morning walking to school at St Joseph’s and Handsworth Grange.
“For this venue to disappear, especially when there are increasingly fewer family-friendly places, would be a tragedy.”
The pub – which was formerly the Handsworth Working Men’s Club – raises money for Amy’s House, a Handsworth-based charity which provides facilities for families with children aged five to 18 years old, who have additional and life limiting illnesses.
Charity representatives have written a strong letter of objection to the planned development.
Office manager, Jayne Hurditch said: “Holme Lea are one of our main supporters and have consistently raised funds for our charity.
“Without their help, we would not have our wonderful sensory room and other essential equipment.
“If Holme Lea is closed it will impact not only the community but leave a massive dent in our yearly fundraising projects.”
Darnall Coun Diane Hurst has also objected to the development.
She said: “The plans are rather imposing and appear to allow only one exit and entrance onto Medlock Drive, which given the nature of the main road is the only possible place.
“The development will increase the volume of traffic attempting to access the main road at rush hour and the parking on the street.”
In a planning document, the applicant said: “The site comprises of a two storey working mens club which is proving unviable to operate. There is also a number of local community public houses within the region to provide community services.”
A spokesman for applicant said: “The design and access statement has demonstrated why the demolition of the working men’s club is necessitated and planning permission for the proposed 27 homes should be approved.
“In summary this is a sustainable development, in a sustainable location.
“As such the development complies with the objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework as well as local policies, the framework states that here should be a presumption in favour of sustainable development, hence planning permission for this development should be granted without delay.”
To sign the petition, visit tinyurl.com/zh5yww4