Plan to replace popular Somerset pub with petrol station labelled 'heritage vandalism'

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Heritage vandalism: More than 80 people have objected to plans to demolish an ACV-listed Somerset pub
Heritage vandalism: More than 80 people have objected to plans to demolish an ACV-listed Somerset pub

Related tags: Lord nelson, Proposal

An application to demolish a former asset of community value (ACV) Hungry Horse pub with a 24-hour petrol station, beauty salon and offices has been met with fierce opposition from locals, who claim the development would "destroy the very character and identity of the village".

The Lord Nelson pub, at Cleeve, is no longer trading, and the application seeks to demolish it and replace it with a mixed-use development - including a petrol station, lounge bar/restaurant, hair and beauty salon and the owner's office accommodation. It has been submitted by Tout Ltd to North Somerset Council.

Within the planning documents, the applicant states the proposals would "add to the quality of the area, and will be an attractive and comfortable place to work and visit".

"The proposal optimises the potential of the site to accommodate a mix of uses appropriate to the area, providing a range of services for the local community and passing motorists," said the documents.

"The site is highly accessible by a variety of means. Above all, the proposed design responds well to local character and history, while being innovative and adaptable; the proposal is visually attractive and through successfully combining all of these merits, it clearly represents good architecture."

However, nearby residents disagree, and say the pub is renowned around the area.

Building of importance

Describing the pub, one resident commented: "Having moved to Cleeve seven years ago, we found the Lord Nelson to be a busy and vibrant pub, which hosted childrens' parties and discos, and also falconry events in the sizeable garden which had a good range of play equipment. We often used the skittle alley which was a fantastic introduction to a Somerset community tradition. The landlord was very welcoming and the Nelson played a key role in settling us into the village."

Objecting to the proposals, a nearby local said: "As it is well known, the Lord Nelson has been listed with an ACV status, and my understanding of the ACV is that any new development on the site in subject to stricter planning and permissions and any new developer should consider the social well-being and interest of the local community. I do not feel as though Tout Ltd's development is in the community's best interests."

"Having been born in Cleeve and lived most of my life in the village, I strongly oppose the demolition of the Lord Nelson, and the unwanted construction of another petrol station and supermarket," wrote another. 

"Tout's proposed demolition plans for the Lord Nelson, which is locally a culturally significant building with an ACV, is heritage vandalism. 

"I know from personal experience that many people, especially in Bristol, know of the Lord Nelson on the A370, but not necessarily the name of Cleeve, the village it stands in. This clearly shows the building is of importance. Its demolition would destroy the very character and identity of the village, just to build another unwanted petrol station and supermarket."

Others who submitted their objections said "every effort" should be made to return it to being a pub for the local community.

Long time coming

However, the application has also gained some support from the locals, who said the pub had been a "dive" for years.

One resident explained: "I understand all the opposing concerns about losing a pub, but the reality is that it wasn't being used as such.

"And I would much rather see a thriving business, than a sad and empty pub with no atmosphere (It may have been great in its heyday, but it's certainly been very sad for the last approx 10 years).

"And honestly, Tout seem to have a very firm grasp on what's needed and could benefit the area."

Another added: "Yes, it's on a main road and the only houses really impacted by this are those with back gardens that back on to the pub. The pub was an absolute dive for years and this has been a long time coming."

At the time of publication the application had 84 letter of objection, and 7 in support.

The decision is due at the end of April.

Related topics: Property law

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