The Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee unanimously refused proposals to construct the four-storey building next to the Prince Albert in Brighton, east Sussex.
Speaking to The Morning Advertiser, the pub’s director George Taylor said: “It’s just a massive sense of relief, and once the exhaustion has settled down a bit, it’s just joy that the councillors saw clarity and realised the plan in its current form was completely the wrong thing for the area and the community around it.”
The planning application plans were first proposed around two years ago. They included holiday layouts and residential apartments, which raised concerns about potential noise complaints against the venue.
Then, holiday lets were taken off the plan, alongside other changes.
Around six months ago new plans were proposed. But Taylor said they were still not what the pub, or area, needed.
Like venues across the country, the Prince Albert is grappling with the rising cost of beer and utilities. If the planning application succeeded, Taylor said: “The challenges we are facing would just be exemplified tenfold and our whole future would be thrown into absolute uncertainty.
“There’s nothing to say we’d still be here in five years’ time if they went ahead.”
'You're not alone'
On Tuesday 24 October the pub found out the application would be put to the planning committee on Wednesday 1 November.
It was a “mad dash to get everything sorted out and organised,” said Taylor.
Planning committee member councillor Julie Cattell said: “The Prince Albert is a Grade II listed landmark building and long-standing live music venue.
“It is clear that there was real concern in the community about the size of this proposed development and its potential impact on the pub and on neighbouring homes.
“I hope this decision shows our determination to protect our conservation areas and heritage and cultural assets.”
Taylor's advice for venues facing similar issues is: “You’re never fighting it alone, and you’ve always got an amazing community of people around you.”
He urged pubs in the same boat to get in contact with the Prince Albert, which was “more than happy to help.” Organisations like Music Venues Trust and music venue alliances could also provide support.
DJ Fatboy Slim played a secret gig at the pub in solidarity, and former Brighton MP Caroline Lucas sent an open letter out to the councillors in the community. More than 20,000 people also signed a petition calling for the pub to be saved.
The council also received more than 1,280 letters of objection to the planning scheme.
Taylor said the outpour of community support for the Prince Albert “exceeded expectations”.
One person who signed the petition said: “When I lived in Brighton I saw so many amazing bands here. Impossible to overstate the true value of these small venues.”
Another called the pub a "big part of Brighton’s beating heart".
Taylor added: “It was just so nice. The community got behind us, and it shows we’re doing the right thing. We’re always abut community, looking after people and keeping everything fair and affordable for everyone.”
This publicity had also caused an uptick in trade at the pub which, for Taylor, has been an “added bonus”.