Fight to stop pub being converted into church

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The licensees and regulars from a Sheffield pub are fighting plans to convert it into a church.The diocese of Sheffield has bought the Fellbrigg on...

The licensees and regulars from a Sheffield pub are fighting plans to convert it into a church.

The diocese of Sheffield has bought the Fellbrigg on the Norfolk Park estate from Avebury Taverns, and plans to turn it into a new parish church.

But the plans have come up against opposition from drinkers at the Fellbrigg. More than 300 local residents have signed a petition to save the pub and posters can be seen around the estate urging the pub company to "save the Fellbrigg" and "keep our pub open".

The diocese says the proposals are necessary for the good of the community because the two local churches are in "outdated" buildings.

But Tracy Nelson, who runs the pub with her husband Ian (both pictured)​, said local people feel very strongly about losing it.

"This is a thriving pub. It is always busy so it just doesn't make sense to sell it. It is far more important to have a pub here than a church," she said.

Richard Smith, northern estates manager with Avebury Taverns, said the pub company had accepted an offer from the diocese of Sheffield to purchase the Fellbrigg.

"The contracts have not yet been exchanged but Avebury Taverns has agreed terms of the sale. It is not subject to any conditions and what the church chooses to do with the building is ultimately its decision," he said.

The diocese has now said the force of community spirit behind the pub could mean it changes its plans.

It said if pub regulars can find an alternative site for a new church and another owner for the Fellbrigg, it will change its plans.

Avebury Taverns is looking to relocate Mrs Nelson and her husband within its 800-strong estate.

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