Convenience store bid sparks new fears for '˜local asset' pub

A Sheffield pub listed as an '˜asset of community value' could become a convenience store.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 8:00 am
The Plough, Sandygate

Sainsbury’s has announced that it intends to lodge a planning application to turn The Plough, at Sandygate, into one of its Local shops.

The pub, which shut suddenly last month because of a decline in trade, was declared a community asset by Sheffield Council after a campaign by supporters last year, when fears the venue could become a shop first began.

Sainsbury’s said the new store would allow customers to ‘top up their main food shopping’, with opening hours from 7am to 11pm. Up to 25 jobs could be created.

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But Sandygate resident Peter Duff, among those calling for the pub to be saved, said Sainsbury’s had ‘quite a few hurdles to jump through’.

Assets cannot be demolished or converted without planning permission, and residents are given six months to attempt to buy property if it is put on the open market.

Landlord Enterprise Inns still owns the pub building on Sandygate Road opposite Hallam FC, the world’s oldest football ground. It is believed a pub has been open on the site for 400 years.

Peter said: “We accepted they may have been lining it up for a change of use. But there’s another opportunity for us, the community, to object to that. In other rulings up and down the country the fact that a pub is listed as an asset of community value has been quite important in turning down applications.”

He also questioned the need for another convenience store in the area.

“There is just no demand. There’s Tesco Express opening up on Manchester Road in June, there are three in Broomhill five to 10 minutes away from Crosspool, and Crookes is 10 minutes away with the Co-op and Sainsbury’s.

“We want it to be revived as a good, local pub. We have started to put a package together to buy the pub but we’ve been a bit stuck. What we needed was Enterprise to enter into direct negotiations.”

James Fox, regional acquisitions manager for Sainsbury’s, said the new shop would ‘bring a number of benefits to the community’.

The planning application would seek permission to adapt the building and ensure the proposals are ‘in keeping with the surrounding area’.