Heavily opposed plans to turn old Warwick pub into housing have been rejected

Controversial plans that would see a much-loved pub in Warwick turned into a private house have been rejected.

The overall plans for the Grade II building – formerly The Punch Bowl in The Butts – would have also seen parts of the building and external alterations demolished.

In September 2020, the owners had to close the pub for the 'foreseeable future' citing the latest Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the government.

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Warwick residents campaigning to save a much-loved historic pub
The former Punch Bowl pub in Warwick. Photo by Mike Baker

Then in March 2021, a ‘change of use’ planning application was submitted because the owners did not believe the pub could be economically viable even after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

A decision on the change of use application was made by planners through delegation and was refused permission on June 17.

The second application – a Listed Building application – which sought a partial demolition of the existing pub building as well as internal and external alterations, was due to go before Warwick District Council’s planning meeting on Wednesday (June 22).

However, this application was withdrawn from the agenda before the meeting.

In their reasons for refusal the planners said: “In the opinion of the local planning authority, it has not been suitably demonstrated that the change of use to a dwelling house would not be detrimental to the town centre through the loss of visitor accommodation.”

The planners also added: “Applicants are expected to provide evidence of the property being marketed for a period of 12 months at a price reflective of the current market conditions and demonstrate no other operators have been willing to acquire it for continued use as visitor accommodation.

"Whilst it has been implied in communications by the agent that the business was unviable, no substantive evidence has been provided.”

Planners also added in the report that some issues have been raised about site access and noise concerns for any potential residents.

More than 180 objections had been lodged against the plans – with many citing that they valued the site in the community as an asset because of its heritage and as a venue in the town.

Last year, residents in the town also started a campaign to save the pub called ‘Save the Punch Bowl’.

To see the group and for updates go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/957997864950805