Planning application to demolish pub but landlady insists it is a fall-back option

Proposals for a village pub to be demolished and for four houses to be built in its place look set to be approved.

The Horseshoe Inn, in Pontesbury
The Horseshoe Inn, in Pontesbury

The plans for the Horseshoes Inn in Pontesbury were lodged by landlady Teresa Challenor, after three years of marketing it for sale with no success.

The pub remains open and Ms Challenor has said she has no intention of going through with the demolition but is seeking permission for an alternative use for the site as an insurance policy.

Pontesbury Parish Council has objected to the application, as has Rea Valley councillor Nick Hignett, but Shropshire Council planning officers have now concluded that permission should be granted.

A final decision will be made by the council’s southern planning committee.

If the outline application is approved, Ms Challenor or any new owner would need to submit a more detailed reserved matters application before starting any work on the Minsterley Road site.

In his objection letter, Councillor Hignett said: “Whilst I understand the applicant’s reasoning for submitting this proposal, a ‘fallback position’ is not a valid justification for the demolition of an existing substantial building, to be replaced with four modern dwellings.

“The re-use of the existing building should be explored, in detail, before alternatives are considered.”

The parish council said the pub was a heritage asset and raised concerns that four homes would represent over-development of the site.

However a heritage impact assessment concluded the building held no architectural significance, and added its demise could help bolster the trade of the other pubs in the village.

A report by planning officer David Jones says: “The application site comprises a previously developed infill site within the settlement boundary and the principle of the developing four residential units aligns with planning policy.

“As the existing building has been extensively altered objection is not raised on the basis that it should be retained as a non-designated heritage asset."

“It is not considered that that objection can be raised to the proposal on the grounds that it will result in the loss of a public house in that adequate evidence has been submitted of efforts to sell the property as a public house, alternate provision exists and it is not considered that the proposal would unacceptably impact on the role of the settlement.”

The planning committee will decide the application at a meeting on Tuesday.

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