Ship Inn pub in Oldbury to be turned into family homes despite opposition from the Environment Agency (EA) and South Gloucestershire Council planning officers
A BOARDED-up pub in Oldbury will be given a new lease of life as it is turned into family homes despite planning bosses' strong opposition to the scheme.
The Ship Inn shut in September after owners failed to rival the popular Anchor Pub down the road.
The closure sparked fears the prominent Camp Road building, which overlooks parts of the village, would be left to deteriorate and eventually fall into ruin.
So when plans to rejuvenate the old pub and convert it into three houses were submitted to the local authority by Adrian Read, villagers breathed a huge sigh of relief and backed the project whole-heartedly.
Yet, turning the public house into residential property in a area at high risk of flooding was deemed too dangerous by the Environment Agency (EA) and planning bosses who strongly opposed the development.
Simon Pinketh, the South Gloucestershire Council officer in charge of examining the planning application, warned members of the development west committee last Thursday that agreeing to the project would put "life and property at risk" in the long term.
"According to climate change, flood levels will rise significantly so in the event that that does happen the site will be flooded," he said.
He added that the design of the extension proposed to the building would look at odds with more traditional cottages in the area.
After hearing locals councillors’ pleas to put the village's best interests ahead of apparently far-fetched safety concerns, 12 members voted in favour of approving the application while one abstained.
Oldbury Parish chairman Cllr Barry Turner said at the meeting last Thursday: "Not only will the building and site deteriorate but there is the issue of vermin, especially rats. We wish to avoid this at all cost and use the site effectively. The benefits far outweigh the negative impacts."
Ward Cllr Matthew Riddle said that although he took flooding issues very seriously he failed to see how turning a pub into private houses would put occupants at higher risk.
"When it was a pub, there was a family living on the first floor and 20, 30 customers on the ground floor," he said. "We are moving that to a situation where we’ve got three modest-sized houses. I fail to see how this application makes it worse in flooding terms."
He added: "I do believe having some smaller housing in the village is an important part of how the village is going to grow in the future."
Following the vote, Cllr Riddle told the Gazette: "I am very pleased that the planning committee has granted permission for the development. I am very keen now for the developer to get on with the work, as a boarded up property in the middle of the village is quite an eyesore."