Express & Star

Villagers call for help to protect disused rural pub after housing plan is thrown out

Residents who won their battle to stop a rural pub being turned into a housing development are now calling for help to stop it from becoming “another Crooked House”.

The residents of Sutton have been campaigning to protect the Red Lion

The Red Lion in Sutton, near Newport, would have been converted into a house, with six plots created for self-build properties on the rest of the site.

But the borough council rejected the planning application at a meeting last month – a decision celebrated by villagers who attended to hear the decision. Planning officers explained there wasn’t sufficient demand for housing to warrant such development in a rural setting.

The Red Lion, which started out as a 17th century timber-framed building, had additions made in later centuries and supporters say its customers have included 70s rock legends Ozzy Osbourne and Roy Wood. It is the only pub in the village, but closed in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

The pub was registered as an Asset of Community Value by Forton Parish Council. If the pub comes up for sale at a future date the status gives the community or parish council six months to raise the cash needed to buy it before it is put on the open market.

Dozens of supporters have now signed a petition calling on Stafford Borough Council to take action to prevent deterioration of the building. The petition stated: “Now that the fate of the Red Lion has been decided the owner should not be allowed to let the pub fall into any further disrepair.