Struggling Wolverhampton pub to be turned into flats

A struggling Black Country pub will be converted into new apartments.

Owner Bobby Basran, at the New Merridale, Wolverhampton
Owner Bobby Basran, at the New Merridale, Wolverhampton

Owner Balwant Basran said The New Merridale in Merridale Street, Wolverhampton, was no longer viable as a business, particularly since the onset of Covid-19 - but there was a demand for flats in the city.

A total of two one-bedroom and four two-bedroomed apartments will be created within the public house, which was built in the 1970s.

In the application, agents NCR Architectural Design Limited said the loss of the New Merridale as a ‘community meeting place’ was mitigated by other facilities in the area.

They said: “The past few years have highlighted the fact that society is changing quickly. The way that people socialise has changed and many public houses are now struggling to survive.

“This is a trend that is likely to continue, in Wolverhampton and nationwide, particularly in the wake of Covid-19. Therefore, public houses like the New Merridale are no longer able to sustain themselves.

“Pubs were once the social centre for many communities but that all seems to be changing.

“Many pubs are no longer sustainable due to rising business rates, high rates of beer duty, competition from supermarkets selling cheap alcohol, changing demographics and the changing ways in which people (the young in particular) now socialize.

“Alternative uses for failing public houses must be found and local authorities should encourage this. Otherwise, public houses will be boarded up, blighting local communities, and left vacant for years to come.

“The present owners acquired the New Merridale in 2017 from Marstons. They have owned and operated the business for over four years. The venue was outdated and under-invested in for many years.

“The owners set about a large investment programme in 2017 including a full and extensive refurbishment and rebranding.

“Despite the best efforts of the present owners the pub is no longer considered to be economically viable or sustainable. It has been effectively closed for the past year and it is very unlikely that it will be re-opened.”

Planning officers at Wolverhampton Council granted approval for the apartment scheme.

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