Brown Edge residents to challenge Hollybush Inn demolition

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Angry residents in a Staffordshire Moorlands village are fighting plans to demolish a pub they say is an asset to the local community.

The Hollybush Inn, in Brown Edge, near Norton, is the subject of the second planning row after plans to demolish it and replace it with six houses were rejected in October 2014.

New plans include a bat survey, which was one of the major reasons for its original rejection and which led to a petition backed by Brown Edge Parish Council, and more than 70 people holding a public protest at the pub on Sunday.

Brown Edge parish councillor Danielle Spooner has been leading the campaign to stop The Hollybush from demolition.

Cllr Spooner said: “It has been under new management since last November.

“Many improvements have been made and it is now doing really well with Chris and Trevor running it.

“The pub is the only one left in the core of the village and it’s a valuable community asset. It would be greatly missed.

“The continued support from all the regulars has proved it to be a viable business.”

The pub and its gardens have been opened during festivals, such as the June well dressing celebrations and Harvest festivals while the car park has hosted jubilee celebrations and car boots every weekend.

But since the current owners, Peacock Group, have taken over a barrier has partitioned the car park that villagers have been using for up to 80 years and some of these celebrations have stopped.

Brown Edge Parish Cllr Linda Lea, who started the petition, said: “We have won the best kept village for two years on the trot.

“But now the barrier is spoiling the heart of our village.”

Staffordshire Moorlands District Councillor Henry Jebb has backed Cllr Spooner’s campaign.

He said: “Staffordshire Moorlands Conservation Panel has recognised that the Hollybush is locally important and worthy of being locally designated as a Heritage asset.”

According to English Heritage, the pub may have originally been a coaching inn and this may provide the pub with planning protection which could be the key to saving it.

District Councillor Christina Jebb is urging residents to sign the petition at the Hollybush and to write to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council or use their online form to share their views on the Hollybush plans.

A spokesman for the developers Peacock Group said: “The demand for the pub and sales to customers has declined over recent years to such an extent that the previous tenant closed the pub because it was not financially viable.

“The current tenant is occupying it on a temporary tenancy arrangement at a discounted rent to help keep the pub open rather than be left vacant and become a target for vandals.

“The application to re-develop the site is being pursued as a fall-back position in case the tenant cannot make it financially viable either.

“Hopefully with local residents support he can make a success of it.”

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