Historic pub dating back to 17th Century saved from demolition after long campaign

Residents have been celebrating after winning their fight to keep their local pub protected from demolition.

Residents celebrate after the Red Lion was saved from demolition by a protection order
Residents celebrate after the Red Lion was saved from demolition by a protection order

The residents in Sutton, near Newport, had campaigned for the Red Lion to be protected as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) under the Localism Act after the pub had gone up for sale in 2020.

The historic timber framed Red Lion pub on the A519 dates back to the 17th Century and was famously frequented by 70s rock legends such as Ozzy Osbourne and Roy Wood back in their heyday.

Despite residents bidding to purchase the pub, it was bought by a property developer, Vanbrugh Construction, who put in a planning application to turn the Red Lion into a house and build nine more dwellings on the garden and car park.

Resident Angela White, said: "It was terrible, days after it was sold, men with chainsaws came and cut down all the beautiful trees that had stood there for so many years and then they bulldozed all the fencing and external structures, even the BBQ.

"It was so destructive and everyone was shocked."

However, at the same time that the pub was put up for sale, Forton Parish Council had applied for an ACV on the pub & grounds and Stafford Council approved it just one day after the pub was sold.

The ACV listing prevents the owner from selling the site on without offering it to the community first, and provides additional support to Stafford Council to refuse the planning application which would see the pub use permanently lost.

Vanbrugh Construction had two opportunities to get the ACV listing overturned, firstly by asking Stafford Council to review its decision and then an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal.

The local community fought to support Stafford Council's ACV listing all the way, culminating in a hearing by the First-Tier Tribunal on March 3, which rule in favour of retaining the ACV listing.

Local campaigner Robert Sessford said "This is fabulous news, the closing of the pub ripped the heart out of the village, it was just awful.

"With the ACV in place, it makes it so much harder for the developer to get planning approval and so much more likely we will see our pub open again.

"The community remains ready to negotiate with Vanbrugh Construction to acquire the Red Lion and reopen it for the benefit of all in the local vicinity."

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