Sutton pub closed by police for 'lock-ins' during lockdown is spared demolition

A pub in Sutton that was closed down by the police for holding ‘lock-ins’ during a coronavirus lockdown has been spared demolition.

By Richard Silverwood
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 11:05 am

The Blue Bell on Mansfield Road, Skegby was found to be serving drinks to regulars in March 2020 after the government had ordered pubs to shut as part of pandemic restrictions.

All stock and alcohol were removed from the premises in a joint closure operation by the police and Ashfield District Council.

Police officers accused the pub of “putting lives in danger” by deliberately flouting the rules.

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Police outside the Blue Bell pub on Mansfield Road, Skegby after closing it down during a coronavirus lockdown in March 2020.

Now, a plan to demolish the Blue Bell and turn the site into housing has come before the council.

But the proposal to erect 13 residential units, comprising five three-bedroom townhouses and an apartment block of four two-bed flats and four one-bed flats, has been thrown out.

The council heard that the pub was no longer trading, but that it was regarded as a “heritage asset” and one of a handful of old and prominent buildings in the Mansfield Road area.

Planning papers stated: “It makes a positive contribution to the local character and the local sense of place.

"If possible, the Blue Bell should be retained and put to a viable use if it is no longer in demand as a pub.”

The planning application was submitted by London-based lettings company, Rancourt Ltd. But the council was not impressed by the housing scheme.

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Planning officers said it would “represent a cramped, contrived and visually discordant development due to its layout and design”.

It would also “result in substantial harm to the character and appearance of the street”.

And it would have “an unacceptable impact on highway safety” because of “inappropriate” access and parking.

The decision to reject the plan is sure to come as a relief to nearby residents who objected.

One said: “It’s important to retain the pub, which has significant historical value to Sutton.”

Others were concerned about “an increase in traffic at an already busy junction”, and a loss of privacy for existing homes.

The Blue Bell is not to be confused with an even more historic pub in Sutton, the Old Blue Bell, on Lammas Road, where the council has given the green light for it to be converted into a house for multiple occupancy, creating 15 new homes.