PLANS to demolish a much-loved community pub and ‘heritage asset’ in Coventry have been rejected – after a campaign by residents.
As we reported, an application had gone to Coventry City Council to demolish historic pub The Grapes and turn it into 33 apartments.
Now it has been refused by council planning officers.
The Radford Road pub closed its doors for the final time this month, and is now boarded up.
Dismayed former patrons are seeking to prevent the loss of the treasured pub which has served the community since the 1930s.
It is not yet clear whether the applicants IDP Group will appeal against the decision or submit a new application.
Head of planning Tracy Miller published a document yesterday (May 20) which outlines eight reasons for refusal including concerns about traffic, flooding, parking and biodiversity.
She added that the new development would be out of character with its surroundings and have a negative affect on nearby schools and NHS services.
She added: “The proposal would result in the loss of an undesignated heritage asset without substantial justification.
“The proposal would result in the unnecessary loss of a valued community facility.
“Furthermore, the loss would not be outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal.”
More than 300 residents joined a campaign group called ‘Save the Grapes’ on Facebook and about 125 turned out to protest outside the pub on Saturday (May 18).
Scores of residents raised signs and banners in protest outside the pub while many broke out in song and joined hands in a musical tribute.
A Change.org petition launched online has received more than 200 signatures in less than a week.
Campaigners hope the council will sanction reopening The Grapes pub with new owners now the February application has been refused, claiming there are a number of interested parties.
On May 9, the group submitted a 35-page objection to the council composed by pub planning expert Dale Ingram of Planning4Pubs.
The petition states: “In simple terms, we simply love everything about this pub.
“The beautiful 1930s building, its history within Radford’s families since that time and what it gives back to the local community as a place of meeting and socialising.
“The Grapes is where the Radford community go to enjoy a beer, to take part in sporting activities, to mark important life events such as engagements, birthdays and wakes.”
The developer, in a document called ‘Justification for loss of community facility’, argues the area is already well catered for by other licensed establishments within walking distance – and the viability of The Grapes is ‘hard to justify’.
We have contacted the developer for a response.