Race on to save piece of Sheffield's sporting heritage

The Plough in Sandygate
The Plough in Sandygate
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The race is on to preserve a piece of Sheffield's sporting heritage which has gone up for sale.

The Plough pub in Sandygate sits opposite the world's oldest football ground and one of its most historic cricket pitches, and it is reputedly where the rules of football as we know them were drawn up.

Peter Duff outside The Plough

Peter Duff outside The Plough

The freehold is being sold by Enterprise Inns, after plans to convert the watering hole into a convenience store were rejected earlier this year, and the building is advertised with a starting price of £550,000.

The pub is listed by Sheffield Council as an asset of community value (ACV), meaning community groups have six months in which to put together a bid before it can be sold.

The Save the Plough Campaign Group is working hard to prepare an offer and plans to invite members of the public to buy shares, giving them a stake in the pub's future, shortly.

Peter Duff, the group's chairman, said the goal was to make £300,000 from shares, which would be topped up with grants, so it can reopen as a community pub.

But time is running out, with the deadline due to fall at the end of August.

"We're confident we will be able to put together a bid but not over-confident as you're looking at a lot of money that needs to be raised," said Mr Duff.

The group is seeking grants from a range of sources, having already secured a small funding pot through the Community Pub Business Support Programme to develop its business model.

It is also working with its neighbour Hallam Sports Club, with whose history the pub is intertwined, to promote their sporting heritage and attract more visitors and investment.

As a community pub, The Plough would not just serve food and drinks, but would offer a range of other services which could include a repair clinic for household goods, activities for older people and work space for those without an office.

Richard Storer, secretary of Hallam Sports Club, said: "We would be very sad if The Plough disappeared or became some anonymous conglomerate of a multinational firm, as just another convenience store or something like that.

"We would like it to continue as a pub because it's part of our history and it's part of the city's proud sporting heritage."

The sales brochure for The Plough advises potential buyers that it is 'well suited to continued use for a quality food and drink offer' but says it may be suitable for 'alternative use'.

It states that the property is not listed, does not lie within a conservation area and is allocated for residential use in the council's development plans.

A spokesperson from Enterprise Inns said: "As part of our on-going business, we do from time to time identify a pub that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate.

"After careful consideration, the decision has been made to sell the freehold of the Plough Inn, Sheffield and the pub is currently being marketed. Anyone interested in this opportunity should contact our agents Fawley Watson Booth on 0113 234 7900."

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