A HISTORIC pub which is ‘no longer profitable’ has withdrawn a planning application to transform its use from a public house into private residences.

The Swan pub, in Blackwell Hall Lane, Ley Hill retracted an application to Buckinghamshire Council to convert its premises into two properties for private living, with parking.

The matter was due to be discussed at the East Buckinghamshire Area Planning Committee, on Tuesday, August 25.

Attempts were made to contact the owners about the withdrawal and to confirm The Swan is not “operating profitably and is no longer saleable”, as stated in council documents.

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Additional to the two properties, the application requested subdivision of half of its rear land to fall outside the application area, while the other half would comprise a garden and three parking spaces for one property and an enclosed garden and two parking bays for the other.

A two-storey rear extension was also included, as well as the demolition of a porch and shed.

Cllr Andrew Garth called the application in for scrutiny. The recommendation was that is be refused, according to council documents.

The council’s historic buildings officer objected to the subdivision of land and extension, claiming it would “result in an overbearing impact on those adjacent properties to the north” and loss of their amenity space.

The plot itself is within the Green Belt and is Grade II listed.

The building has been a pub since “at least 1843”, according to council reports, and was originally three cottages, two of those built around 1520 and the third in 1680.

It is also adjacent to The Crown pub and nearby to Ley Hill Cricket Club.

Other than individual attempts to convert it to offices or a nursery, marketing the pub has been fruitless, according to council documents.

Lack of interest is down to competition from The Crown, food and alcohol sales at the cricket club, ‘macro-economic effects from Brexit’, and increased business costs, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Buckinghamshire Council’s own site surveyor reported it “would be difficult to defend the retention of this public house”, adding: “It would seem that there was no genuine interest or lower offers, other than as an office or as a nursery.”

They added investment poses a “notably higher-than-average financial risk”.

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However, some 52 objection letters have been received against the planning application, including from the Campaign for Rear Ale (CAMRA) and the Chiltern Society Heritage Group.

Some reasons for objection include:

  • Loss of the pub and access to a historic building
  • The owners refused to engage positively with the community for its continuation
  • The pub has become rundown
  • Marketing was deficient
  • The asking price was too high

The Ley Hill Community Pub Ltd have put up “credible plans for bidding for the pub and running it,” according to council documents.

A spokesperson for Buckinghamshire Council said: “The applicant chose to withdraw the application ahead of committee and this does not stop them for re-submitting at any point in the future with the same or a revised scheme.”

The owners were not available for comment.

Image courtesy of Google Maps.