Controversial plans to convert Sheffield pub into housing are withdrawn

The Firwood Cottage pub in Walkley
The Firwood Cottage pub in Walkley
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Controversial plans to convert a Sheffield pub into housing have been dropped in the face of fierce opposition.

The Firwood Cottage in Walkley would have been turned into a house of multiple occupation, accommodating up to 12 people, under proposals submitted to Sheffield Council in December.

Pub manager Gary Bell with regulars at the Firwood Cottage

Pub manager Gary Bell with regulars at the Firwood Cottage

But the application has now been withdrawn by Living Property Solutions (LPS) after 77 people wrote to object.

Councillor Neale Gibson and his fellow ward councillors Ben Curran and Olivia Blake had opposed the loss of a 'popular and well-used' watering hole, and Coun Gibson likened the proposed rooms to 'rabbit hutches'.

Coun Gibson welcomed the news the application had been withdrawn, saying: "We are pleased that local people have been listened to and the developer has thought again about these inappropriate plans."

Gary Bell, who has run the pub in Whitehouse Lane for 16 years, had spoken of his shock at hearing of the plans from a neighbour.

He said at the time that the watering hole, owned by Punch Taverns, was a 'really nice little community pub' and locals 'want it to stay that way'.

"I'm pleased the application has been withdrawn, as I would imagine is everyone who objected," he said.

He added that he had no plans to close the pub and had not heard from Punch Taverns or LPS about their intentions since the application was withdrawn.

John O'Connell, who is a regular at the Firwood Cottage, said: "I'm delighted. The local residents have spoken and the council I presume has talked to the applicants and got them to withdraw the application before it was rejected.

"I think the fact the community rallied round Gary and his pub shows how popular it is, and if there's a similar plan in future we will object again."

Punch Taverns said last month that it had accepted an offer for the building but no deal had been completed.

The Star has attempted to contact Punch Taverns and LPS, but has not received a response from either.

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