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Famous footballing pub in Sheffield goes up for rent, to frustration of campaigners fighting to save piece of city's history

The Plough Inn on Sandygate in Crosspool
The Plough Inn on Sandygate in Crosspool
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A famous footballing pub in Sheffield has been listed for rent - less than a year after campaigners failed in their attempt to buy it for the community.

The Plough Inn, on Sandygate Road, in Crosspool, stands opposite the world's oldest football ground, which is home to Hallam FC, and is where the rules to the modern game were reportedly drawn up.

Peter Duff, chairman of the Save the Plough campaign group, outside the pub

Peter Duff, chairman of the Save the Plough campaign group, outside the pub

The pub closed in 2016 and the vacant building was last year sold by Ei Group to Spacepad UK, which outbid the Save the Plough campaign group's £435,000 offer made in conjunction with a mystery backer after raising thousands of pounds by selling community shares.

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It has now been listed to let by the estate agency Crosthwaite Commercial, with offers in the region of £50,000 being invited.

The sales brochure describes the building as being 'prominently located opposite Hallam FC', and states that until its closure it had been a 'popular public house serving the local population'.

However, it describes how the property has 'suffered some vandalism' since being closed, and says the tenant will be required to refurbish the premises.

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Peter Duff, chairman of the campaign group, claimed the asking price was 'unrealistic' and he feared it was an attempt to prove the building was no longer commercially viable as a pub - potentially paving the way for it to converted into flats or demolished.

The building was earlier this year re-listed as an asset of community value, which provides additional protection against it being knocked down or turned into housing, and means community groups are given six months in which to put together a bid should it go up for sale, but does not guarantee its future as a pub.

Mr Duff said: "We're at a bit of an impasse because the owner won't speak to the community and has now put it up for rent at a completely unrealistic asking price.

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"When we put together our community bid, we had a professional valuation done which estimated the annual rent at between £25,000 and £30,000 - and that was based on a pub that was trading successfully and did not require an awful lot of internal refurbishment to bring it back into operation.

"I expect putting it on the market with such a high valuation is an attempt to show it's not viable as a pub, but that won't work if it's not being advertised at a competitive market rate.

"We're growing very frustrated because we felt we'd put together a really good bid last year and had that been successful the pub would be open again now and serving the community rather than standing empty and deteriorating."

The campaign group had successfully fought plans to convert the pub into a grocery store, which were rejected by Sheffield Council in January 2017.

Speaking after the pub was re-listed as a community asset in April, Councillor Jayne Dunn, the council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods. said it had been an 'easy decision' as she didn't want to see developers 'riding roughshod over the wishes of the local community'.

Spacepad UK declined to comment.