Licensee wins planning case against NewRiver Retail

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Win for licensee: NewRiver Retail's planning application was turned down
Win for licensee: NewRiver Retail's planning application was turned down

Related tags Newriver retail Car park Property Staffordshire

A pub in Leek was celebrating after quashing its owners’ plans to build two residential houses in the car park. 

The Priory Hotel in Leek, Staffordshire, which is run by licensee Barry Birch, managed to block a planning application by the owner NewRiver Retail on Thursday 19 January after presenting the case to the local council. The pub was acquired by NewRiver Retail from Marston’s in 2013 as part of a £90m deal and is still operated by the pubco.

NewRiver Retail has come under criticism in the past for building convenience stores on the land on which its pubs are situated.

Birch said he would have lost a large part of the car park and was concerned the pub would face issues over noise if the houses were to be built. The pub runs a number of local community events in the car park including a charity dog show, carnival and a Remembrance Sunday event.

“It was nice to win. The pub is a community hub in the area and it would have taken a fair chunk of the car park. We are going to apply for the pub to be an asset of community value (ACV) so if it comes up for sale, there will be a chance for it to be protected,” he said.

Birch was helped by local councillor Charlotte Atkins who also gave a presentation at the planning meeting. She explained about the importance of community and local events that took place in the car park.

She told The Morning Advertiser​ that the building of the houses was the “thin edge of the wedge”, which would have caused conflict with the new residents. She also said the inability to run the local community events at the pub would have led to the closure of the pub.

“The good thing is that Barry was willing to put his head above the parapet,” she said. “This is a vital community resource. The good news was that there was no opposition on the planning committee. This is a really positive outcome.”

A spokesperson for NewRiver said: “We are disappointed that the outline application to construct two houses on surplus car parking at the site was refused by Staffordshire Moorlands Council, despite the clear recommendation from planning officers that it was acceptable in planning terms.

"There were no local objections lodged at all to the proposal. We had taken steps to consult with Mr Birch from the outset and had agreed with him that the northern section of the car park was the most appropriate location, where the proposed properties would be located a similar distance to the existing residential properties around the boundaries of the site. We will now take some time to consider our next steps.”

Related topics Property law

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