Plough, Sandygate

The Plough Inn on Sandygate Road, Crosspool, was a Tennants pub for many years. In 1962, ownership changed when Whitbread took over Sheffield-based Tennants. In 2003, Enterprise Inns (now Ei Group) took ownership of the pub and effectively left the building to rot; there was no serious maintenance work.

When the pub closed in 2015, a local community group successfully obtained ACV (Asset of Community Value) status from Sheffield City Council (SCC). Ei then leased the building to Sainsbury’s who submitted a planning application to SCC to turn the pub into a convenience store. This application was subsequently turned down by SCC. In 2017, the vacant building was sold by Ei Group to Spacepad UK, who outbid the Save the Plough campaign group’s £435,000 offer. This offer was made after the raising of thousands of pounds by selling community shares. A second successful ACV application followed in April 2018.

The Plough in 2015, shortly before it closed

A recent planning application to SCC (19/00405/TEL) for the ‘Erection of 15 m monopole and provision of associated cabinets and equipment’ (a mobile phone mast) states: “The NTQ (Notice to Quit) site is the Plough Inn, which has recently been bought by developers who have plans to convert the pub into residential with parking. A new site is urgently required to replace the current one”.

We believe that this planning application should be immediately rejected as it pre-empts any planning application to SCC: it simply assumes that the Plough will become residential. In addition, national planning policy recognises the importance of protecting historic assets and their ‘setting’. The proposed mast would be an eyesore in a unique setting.

The Plough in 2017, closed and with boarded windows

The pub is adjacent to the ground of Hallam FC, the second oldest football club in the world. Hallam occupy Sandygate, the oldest football ground in the world and the site of the first football game (Hallam v Sheffield FC, 26 December 1860) as recognised by FIFA. The Plough is important in the history of football; it is highly probable that the rules of football for the first game were agreed in the pub. Under the right hands, it would be a gem on the Sheffield tourism landscape.

Peter Duff, of the Save the Plough and the Sporting Heritage of Sandygate group, said the application “confirms what we have assumed for some time” about the new owner’s plans for the site. He urges people to object to plans for the mast, which he said would be an ‘eyesore’ in a ‘unique setting’, with The Plough and Hallam FC’s ground both being protected Assets of Community Value and the nearby Towers Lodge being a Grade II-listed building. He explained: “Our campaign to preserve The Plough has always been about more than just saving a pub. It has been about gaining wider recognition of the historic role of the area in the sporting history of Sheffield”.

Dave Pickersgill

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