Revamp of The Bear Grill backed despite concerns
Controversial plans to modernise a historic pub that will 'spoil' the town, according to a councillor, look set to get the green light.
The 17th century Bear Grill in Greengate Street, Stafford, is set to be transformed as the current sign is replaced by illuminated colour-changing LED letters while a hanging sign will read ‘Beers, Burgers, Cocktails – for every occasion’.
The plans for the Grade II list building were met with criticism when they were unveiled in June, with one resident labelling it as 'cheap and tacky'.
But planning officers at Stafford Borough Council have recommended the plans for approval despite the objections.
Ward Councillor Christine Baron said: "It is an old and beautiful building and I was very surprised when the planning officers recommended it for approval. I even expected I would have to withdraw the objection because I was convinced they would refuse it.
"The does not need the flashing lights because people know it is there and it looks beautiful as it is. It is such a shame.
"People were appalled with the plans and it was not just a few, it was loads.
"As far as I am aware, the old sign was part of the listing. My main concern the sign they are putting up is not in keeping with the surrounding area.
"It is brighter and lighter and it is simply not right for a listed building to have this. We have to keep it listed. It is quite simple.
"It is going to spoil the town centre."
The pub closed on May 6 after The Lewis Partnership which had operated from the site for more than 15 years, pulled out.
The building, dating back to 1650, is owned by Marston’s and the lease has returned to the brewery.
Sign Specialists wrote in the planning statement, on behalf of Marstons, that the historic building will not be harmed as the architecture will be maintained as their proposal only sets out to rebrand the current pub.
A decision is set to be made at the next Stafford Borough Council planning meeting on Wednesday.