What shall we do with Queensfield pub site?
4:30am Friday 31st January 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
STRATTON councillor Brenda Archer has appealed for residents’ opinions on the future of the Queensfield pub after an application to demolish it and build eight homes was withdrawn.
Patrick Slattery and CJ O’Connell lodged an application to demolish the long-standing pub on November 27 of last year, but last week withdrew their application with Swindon Council.
The reasons for the withdrawal were undisclosed. Mark Campbell, of Campbell Town Planning in Hawkins Street, acted as agent on the application.
He said: “We were in dialogue with Swindon Council and from those conversations we felt it was appropriate to withdraw the application.”
Stratton St Margaret Parish Council objected to the plans. In a comment sent to the council on December 18 of last year, the council said: “This application will be a loss of public amenities. The design would cause a road hazard on the corner.”
In light of the latest development, Ms Archer, who is a member of the parish council’s planning committee, has said the council wants to hear from residents living in Queensfield, Kingsley Way and Abington Way.
“I feel the people that live around there should have amenities within that area,” she said. “There are elderly people who moved in there 50 years ago. They need the local amenities to get whatever they need without having to drive miles around.
“They should have a voice to explain what they want.
“We haven’t had any feedback from local people. It would be nice to have some input from people living there.”
The pub closed in June after several difficult years, and despite this application’s withdrawal, the future is far from certain. Several managers have tried and failed to make a profit at the pub. It re-opened in 2009, closed in 2011 and again last year.
When it shut in the summer, its owner, Enterprise Inns, said it was working to find new tenants to run the site, though this never came to fruition.
Ms Archer said: “It’s got to go. Something’s got to happen. The site has got to be improved, whether that be as a public house or a restaurant. Surely it’s up to the community to have a say in this.
“That building might have another few years, but it’s never been successful. Over the years it’s changed hands many, many times.
“We are losing public houses left, right and centre.”
John Doyle, 49, ran the pub from 2009 until 2011, when he was forced to close after failing to make a profit.
The part-time taxi driver would like to see the building reopened as a pub, but accepts it is tough in that part of town to make a go of it.
“I would like to see it reopened,” he said. “It’s a community pub and it should be used. It hasn’t been open for a while now and whoever goes in there will have a task on their hands.”
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