Fresh hope for future of Sheffield pub which helped shape modern football

The Plough pub at Sandygate
The Plough pub at Sandygate
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A historic Sheffield pub reputed to be the birthplace of modern football could be revived, with the owner reportedly in talks with a local brewer.

The Plough Inn, on Sandygate Lane, in Crosspool, has been closed since last April and Sainsbury's had applied to open a convenience store at the site.

But the grocery giant's application was rejected earlier by councillors last month and it has now confirmed it has no plans to challenge the decision.

Campaigners who fought to save the pub say the owner Enterprise Inns has held talks with a local pub company about selling the building.

The Plough sits opposite the world's oldest football ground, where Hallam FC play, and is where the rules of modern football are believed to have been drawn up during the 1870s.

A Sainsbury's spokesperson said on Tuesday: "We can confirm that we will no longer be opening a Sainsbury’s Local at the former Plough Inn on Sandygate Lane. Following the decision to refuse the planning application, we have reviewed our options and have decided not to proceed with an appeal. We will continue to look for further opportunities in the area."

A spokeswoman for ei publican partnerships, which owns The Plough, said: "We have been working closely with Sainsbury’s on this matter, but after the planning application refusal, have taken the decision, with the supermarket’s full support, to review our strategy with regards to The Plough Inn, Sheffield."

Campaigners who fought to preserve The Plough as a pub successfully applied to Sheffield Council to have it listed as an asset of community value (ACV), giving community groups six months in which to make a bid should the owner put it up for sale or apply to convert the building.

Antony Davenport said he and fellow campaigners had not ruled out bidding for the pub but would prefer it to be taken over by a brewery with experience of managing pubs.

He said campaigners were trying to set up a meeting with Enterprise Inns, which they understood had approached a local brewery about the prospect of buying The Plough.

Whoever does end up taking it over, he added, would have to spend around £100,000 just to get the building in a fit state to reopen.

"We want to sit down with somebody from Enterprise Inns and have a constructive meeting," he said.

"We don't want to put a community bid together if there are local brewers who are interested in The Plough. We would rather work with them but if it comes down to it we would consider making a community bid."

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