Pub will be replaced by homes and micropub as redevelopment plans are approved
A PUCKLECHURCH pub will be replaced with seven homes and a ‘micropub’ after councillors approved developers' plans, despite public objections.
The controversial proposals for the Fleur de Lis in Shortwood Road were approved by South Gloucestershire Council on Thursday.
Members of a planning committee passed them with little debate despite dozens of objections from residents, the parish council and a local ward councillor.
Committee member Michael Bell said: “I do feel sad supporting the application but, unfortunately, that’s the times we live in.
“Pubs are closing and the pandemic has closed more pubs, and we are where we are.
“No one’s come forward to run it as a public house and the micropub is not a public house but it’s something where people can go.”
The Fleur de Lis dates from the early 19th century and lies in the heart of the village, not far from a Grade I listed church.
Owner UKS Group said the traditional pub was “non viable” and applied to turn it into a four-bedroom home and convert an old toilet block/function room into a micro pub.
It also submitted a second application to demolish the rear extension to the pub and build six three-bedroom homes on the land.
Altogether, it promised 20 car parking spaces.
Nineteen residents objected to the plans to convert the pub, while the application to build six new homes received 54 objections and four comments in support.
Gail Boyle, chair of Pucklechurch Parish Council, told the committee there was not enough parking provided for the new homes, and their rooms and gardens were too small.
There was no evidence that a micropub would be successful, she added.
Boyd Valley councillor Steve Reade asked members to refuse both applications, saying the loss of a traditional public house was a “net loss to the community”.
“The other public houses in the village cannot be seen as alternatives to the Fleur de Lis, either in terms of distance to them or clientele they attract,” he said in a statement read out at the meeting.
“A micropub is an urban concept, not a rural one. If approved, you will force some of the current clientele into a degree of social isolation.”
But an agent for the applicant said micropubs can work in villages, as demonstrated by a “successful” example in Charfield.
“The reality is, the [Fleur de Lis] pub has been struggling for a long time, mainly relying on wakes from funerals from the church,” he said.
“[A micropub] is just a small modern pub based on the principles of ‘keep it small, keep it simple’. The aim is to keep the drinking establishment open with low overheads, good quality beer and snacks, and just an area where people can get together and communicate.”
The micropub will have no indoor seating but customers will be able to sit in the courtyard area, the meeting heard.
Two of the four parking spaces originally allocated for the four-bedroom home will be designated for the micropub under a condition added to the planning consent by councillors.
A planning officer said the parking provision for both applications met council policy, the four-bedroom home will look very similar to the pub after the conversion, and the design of the new houses was in keeping with the character of the village.
The new houses will be the same height as the existing pub and will scarcely be seen from the St Thomas à Becket Church, the meeting heard.
Officers recommended both proposals for approval, saying the applicant had proven the Fleur de Lis was not viable and its plans for the new homes overcame objections associated with previous applications.
Committee members unanimously voted both applications through.
Councillor Shirley Holloway said: “It’s quite clear that the continuation of the pub is not a viable possibility. It’s not going to be sold again as a pub, which is sad.
“Something has to be decided for that building. I’m not sure if the micropub is going to work but I think that it would be worth trying.”
Councillor Brian Hopkinson said: “I think the [new] houses have got the village feel. I really do like the application.”
Members added a number of conditions to the planning consent, including one to ensure the Fleur de Lis coach gates are retained and are shut when the micropub is closed.
The applicant must contribute £10,000 towards a traffic regulation order requiring double yellow lines to be painted on the road to stop anyone parking directly outside.
The order must undergo a public consultation before it can be introduced.
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service