Sadness as fight for Tipton's Sportsman pub lost
Plans to turn a popular Tipton pub into a food store have been given the green light by the planning inspectorate after an appeal was overturned.
Sandwell Council’s planning committee threw out Heron Foods’ bid to take over the site of the Sportsman back in November.
But this week, the planning inspectorate granted approval for the plans, after Heron Foods appealed the authority’s decision.
Inspector Ben Plenty, who visited the site in June, said that the plans would not have “material effect on the living conditions of adjacent or cause substantial harm to highway safety”.
He added that the proposed retail use would include new employment opportunities and represent “positive investment in the site and building”.
Campaigners have been left devastated by the decision – after carrying out a long-standing battle to save the pub, gathering 900 signatures on a petition and even trying to get the pub listed as an asset of community value.
James Marsh, who has been campaigning against the proposals, said: “Everyone is just frustrated and angry by this decision. People feel let down by it.
“It is frustrating because there is not really anything we can do about it now – we are going to try and get some legal advice.
“We had applied for the pub to be listed as an asset of community value and we were just fobbed off.
“It all seems to have been handled wrong really, we haven’t been told what’s going on.
“I am afraid it looks like that the pub will close. But we are going to send another petition to Heron Foods. A lot of people have said they won’t go to the store if it opens – there’s a lot of anger around it.”
Heron Foods submitted an appeal to the planning inspectorate in April, but the approval decision was published by Inspector Plenty, who had been appointed to look into the appeal by the Secretary of State, on Tuesday.
The decision notice states: “Although the loss of the community facility would be of moderate weight in the planning balance, this would not outweigh the benefits of the proposal in its overall compliance with the development plan policies drawn to my attention and the framework.
“For the above reasons, and having taken into account all matters raised, the appeal is allowed.”
Heron Foods has been approached for comment.