A planning application was recently made to demolish The Plough Inn (Sandygate Road, Crosspool). The Plough was a Tennants pub for many years. In 1962, ownership changed when Whitbread took over Sheffield-based Tennants. In 2003, Enterprise Inns (Ei) took ownership. Since then, there appears to have been no serious maintenance work. Many would claim that the pub has been left to rot.
When the pub closed in 2015, a local community group obtained ACV (Asset of Community Value) status from Sheffield City Council (SCC). Ei then leased the building to Sainsburys. Sainsburys then waited until peak holiday time before, on 2nd.August, submitting a planning application to turn the pub into a ‘convenience store.’ This application was subsequently turned down.
Both the Plough and the adjacent football ground have ACV status with the nearby, Towers Lodge, Grade II listed. The Plough was rebuilt in 1929 and is an important example of an inter war public house which, according to Historic England, are ’rare and overlooked buildings’. National planning policy recognises the importance of protecting historic assets and their ‘setting.’ This was confirmed in the decision of the local authority to refuse the application from Sainsbury’s.
The pub is adjacent to the ground of Hallam FC (the 2nd.oldest football club in the world). Hallam occupy Sandygate, the oldest football ground in the world, the site of the first football game (Hallam v Sheffield FC) as recognised by FIFA. The Plough is important in the history of football (the first inter-club game was adjacent, the rules of football written in the pub ………). This is the venue whose historical value outweighs speculative commercial development. It is a cultural icon which should be protected.
In 2017, the building was sold to Spacepad UK, which outbid the Save the Plough campaign group’s £435,000 offer made after raising thousands of pounds by selling community shares. The Plough was recently relisted as an ACV. This protects its status as a public house. This decision was based on widespread support from the community, individuals, families and local organisations.
As reported in Beer Matters, in February 2019, a planning application was made to erect a mobile phone mast close to the site. The application stated: “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.” At this point, there was no planning permission to demolish the Plough. Rightly, the application for a mobile mast was recently withdrawn.
The application to demolish the Plough does not provide any evidence to suggest that it is not viable as a public house. The developer states that no offers were received to lease the pub. This was because it was offered for a completely unrealistic rent of £50,000 pa. Average rents in this area are between £24,000 and £29,000. This planning application would see the Plough replaced by eight houses on the site, none of which would be affordable for local people.
The campaign to preserve the Plough is 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. We believe that this planning application should be rejected and the Plough allowed to return to use as a community pub.
- Dave Pickersgill