Application to turn 'unviable' Telford pub into apartments
Plans have been submitted to turn a pub into apartments, after its owners said it was "unviable" as a public house.
A planning application has been submitted to Telford and Wrekin Council to turn the Alexandra public house, in Slaney Street, Oakengates, into four one-bedroom apartments.
Church Street Taverns said the pub has operating at a loss.
The application states that the plans are to divide the existing first-floor into two apartments, and the ground-floor into a further two apartments.
In a letter accompanying the planning application, Sally Themans, from Church Street Taverns, said: "We are experienced pub operators, having worked at senior levels within the industry for 20 years. We have owned the Alexandra since 2005, operating it first as a managed house, and latterly as a tenancy.
"As there is no kitchen facility it has been impossible to serve food, and this wet-led only offer has seen serious decline in trade levels over the last 15 years, and to such an extent that now it is unviable as a public house.
"We would like to alter the internal use of the building into four separate apartments. This would ensure that the building would be better maintained and stop any further deterioration of the premises.
"It would also provide housing in an area where small, affordable rental properties are in high demand. Most of the rest of the street is residential so this would fit well with what is currently in Slaney Street."
The planning application states: "In recent years profitability has fallen consistently and the business now trades at a loss. We have made a full evaluation of options and can not justify making a commercial investment in order to reverse this trend because we can find no evidence that the local market will support this.
"The town is currently well served with drinking establishments and the removal of the Alexandra will help to ensure the sustainability of those that remain."
Paul Jones, membership secretary for Telford and East Shropshire branch of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: "The Alexandra has been struggling for some time and is unfortunately just off the beaten track from the very popular pubs in Market Street. The nearby Fountain suffered a similar fate a few years ago.
"Business rates, alcohol duty and general supermarket pricing has driven an awful lot of people to drink at home rather than the pub, and a small town can only support so many establishments.
"It's a shame, but a fact of life at the moment."
Residents can comment on the planning application by visiting http://telford.gov.uk/planning before the consultation period ends on January 29.