Last orders could be permanently called on disused pub near Lichfield

The Black Horse. Pic: Mick Malpass

The Black Horse. Pic: Mick Malpass and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Last orders are likely to have been called for the final time at a pub near Lichfield.

The Black Horse at Edingale has been closed since 2012 and any hopes of it being reopened as a business could disappear if retrospective planning permission is given to allow it to be permanently converted into a family home.

Since the last pint was pulled at the Main Road business, the landlords have lived in the building and now hope Lichfield District Council will allow the change of use to be made permanent.

In a statement to planning chiefs, the owners revealed that poor location, lack of trade and competition from other pubs in surrounding villages meant that the pub was no longer viable as a business.

“The Black Horse had an unsustainable recent history,” the statement explained. “In the last 20 years the business had at least six landlords, none of whom was able to forge a viable future.”

The application also revealed that the pub lost around £30,000 in its final year of trading.

“The business was advertised as available by a national commercial agent who specialises in the licenced trade,” the statement continued. “Of the four enquiries received in response to the advertising, there was no firm interest shown.

“The feedback received from current owners and landlords in the industry was that the business was not attractive due to poor location and lack of trade.”

Full details of the application can be seen on Lichfield District Council’s planning website.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

29 Comments

  1. save the pubs

    24th May, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Another owner takes on the Black Horse and then ruins it beyond help. The current owner made it impossible for the locals to use with petty rules and terrible beer. Smaller, less accessible pubs locally are doing fine. the Black Horse was doomed as soon as the current owner bought the building and wrecked the interior. The Council should see beyond the nonsense the owner is spouting. what a farce.

    Note: This comment has been edited to comply with site rules.

  2. Cynic

    24th May, 2013 at 11:36 am

    ” impossible for the locals to use with petty rules ”

    What were the rules?

  3. D.capper

    24th May, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I agree. The new interior was completely out of sync with a country public house, this made the pubs many previous customers feel uncomfortable. I disagree that the beer was awful in fact when the pub first reopened the drink was of a good standard but very expensive . I think that the problems with this public house were that previously it had always been a traditional family pub with a strong friendly atmosphere and they stopped people who had used the pub regularly and for years from bringing there children in with them. The new owner also had unpredictable opening hours and would ask you to rush your drink so that he could close the pub . The pub had a very uncomfortable atmosphere and felt like a dentists waiting room and if you mattered a single swear word quietly in private conversation you would be reprimanded. The point that the pub is not viable is utter rubbish, I have lived in the village for over ten years and it has always attracted a healthy customer base. I do not think that the pub should be turned into a house and feel that it would have a future in somebody else’s hands who has a more traditional approach. I think the council should not allow the change of use for this building and feel the local villagers are doing the right thing trying to stop it. Rant over.

    Note: This comment has been moderated

  4. Roger Sivieri

    27th May, 2013 at 11:13 am

    The Black Horse Inn Public House has traded in the Village of Edingale for over 200 years and became the social meeting point for the majority of residents. The present owner claims that it is not viable. That is because customers were felt to be made unwelcome, the new decor was not in keeping with a village pub, the prices were too high, there was a constant change in cooks, the menu & food prices changes weekly, the opening time were inconsistent, certain villages were made unwelcome, petty rules, it was not family friendly and the list goes on. Its a Village Pub not a city centre Wine Bar. The pub has been previously owned by a brewery who would only spend money externally and left the interior to deteriorate.The brewery demanded high rents from the tenants so little profit could be made, but profits were made. The previous owners who bought the pub from the brewery did make profits but this was used to supported their other pub they owned in Rugeley. The present owner knew the location and competition when he bought the pub.The claim the pub lost over £30k is surely attributed by the investment on renovations internally which by the way include living accommodation upstairs which has apparently added value to the property but as far as accounts go show a loss. There has been enquires made with agents the owner claims to have approached to put the pub on the market but they have told us it has never been up for sale, the owner was only looking for a business partner. We have over 100 strong objections against the planning application and do not want to lose the pub.

  5. Cynic

    27th May, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    You make a good case for a village pub.
    Are they still paying “Business rates” on the pub part?
    If so the council will/should take that into account.
    I wish you well.

  6. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    A pub is only as good as its land lord and whilst elswhere I have said that the system is stacked against landlords I do not agree that this pub is unprofitable or that it is not needed.

    A pub needs a warm comfortable cosy welcoming feel to it, it is not a chic coffee bar in a bustling town centre, It needs friendly staff, It needs a good selection of beers, real ales, lagers and spirits. It needs a seperate food area, tables in the garden, sports teams dominoes, pool, non sports teams book club, sewing club.
    To be a good landlord in a country pub you need to be multi skilled, know your ales, your food, be friendly welcoming but firm, be open to diversify.
    Be a tourist information centre if there isn’t one, welcome walkers, sell farm produce.
    Did I mention keep a good pint and be friendly and welcoming but firm.

  7. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Nothing wrong with that pub, its just owners wanting to turn it to housing. next an application to turn it to flats will be put it. Its just a way of making easy money from it.
    It is a good location, large car park, large garden. You could do fun days, car boots, they could perhaps do camping. a childrens play ground, bouncy castle. charity music events subject to the locals not being whingers.
    I’d put hob goblin, spitfire, and a nice amber ale on draught with a well stocked fridge of other ales, lagers and drinks. The other pubs will be wondering where their customers have gone

  8. Paul

    27th May, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    We live in the village and had some work done on the house not long after the current landlord bought the pub. We set up a tab behind the bar for the lads doing the work so they could go for a few drinks after work on Friday on us. They only went once! Young men wouldn’t even go there if the drinks were free, that’s how bad it was!

    Unfortunately for the landlord, he needs to understand that the people of Edingale DID want to go to the pub, they just didn’t want to go to HIS pub. Shame for everyone really.

  9. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    bad landlord and now you’re going to lose the pub because of it. Such a shame Paul. Makes me sad, one by one they’re being destroyed.

  10. Paul

    27th May, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    We walk 5 miles round-trip to the Colvile Arms at Lullington every Sunday. Great pub, but hardly “local competition” is it? And certainly not something we’d do of an evening. Evening alternative is the 2 mile return to the White Lion in Harlaston, but that’s an unlit road without pavement, so unless the council is going to upgrade and light the road, I can’t see how approving this change of use is in line with the NPPF?

  11. stymaster

    27th May, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    I agree with Jozef: good, well-run pubs with good landlords can be viable and make a good profit, but to do so they have to be welcoming and have a good range of drinks. If they can operate free of a pubco tie that makes it much easier for the landlord.

  12. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    That’s true stymaster, they’re not doing British pubs any favours, they make it very hard work. I’d not want a tied house unless it had great potential.

    The council should be refusing planning permission under the grounds that it has not been proven that there is no demand for a local pub and there are no others in the village. To get rid of it could be detrimental to the residents.

  13. stymaster

    27th May, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    CAMRA have an active campaign to list pubs in that situation.

  14. BrownhillsBob

    27th May, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    You don’t have a clue how planning works, do you Jozef?

    Bob

  15. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Actually yes I do bob. It was used by the local council to block an application in Cranfield Bedfordshire. Although the applicant subsequently got it on appeal because the council never bothered to object to the appeal for some strange reason.
    What is the use of a change of use application if no one can object to the use changing ?

  16. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Carpenters Arms
    The planning application to turn the Carpenters Arms into residential accommodation has been refused by CBC. It gives the reasons as follows:
    The proposed development would result in the loss of a significant community
    facility in the centre of Cranfield, a Minor Service Centre which will be subject to housing growth.
    It adds that “insufficient clearly substantiated evidence has been provided by
    the applicant to demonstrate that there is no longer a need for such a facility,
    the loss of which would undermine community and sustainability objectives”.
    CBC concludes that “the proposal is therefore contrary to the objectives of
    the NPPF and Central Bedfordshire Core Strategy (2009) Development
    Management Policy DM4 & DM8”.
    http://www.cranfieldexpress.co.uk/news/PDF/January13.pdf

  17. BrownhillsBob

    27th May, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Jozef

    They never objected to the appeal because they knew they wouldn’t win. It also resulted in them paying substantial costs.

    How do you see them handling this? Holding a gun to the heads of the owners and forcing them to run it as a pub?

    You seem to be confusing showboating with valid planning process.

    Bob

  18. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Very few councils object on appeal because this government ignores the views of local people and valid reasons for refusal and overturns them at great expense to the local council and the tax payer so of course they’re not going to go lightly into objecting to an appeal. The reasons fr the refusal must be valid reasons for an objection though. They can’t simply say I dislike the application. Whether the reasons are valid for a particular application is down to that application though. To suggest I don’t know anything about planning simply because you think a valid reason is unlikely to stand up to an appeal isn’t true or fair.
    If it wasn’t possible for the local council to use it as grounds I wouldn’t have suggested it.

    Expect an application for it to be used as a domestic dwelling first, then for houses or flats to be built on the car park. We may even expect the house to be later converted to flats. Because of its location there isn’t much else to object to. There are no houses nearby.

  19. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    It may be show boating but it is still a valid refusal. As I’ve said many valid refusals are overturned.
    This government overturns valid refusals to create work and ‘boost the economy’. It is obvious with all of these that they’ll lead to the car park and garden having houses flats built on and will provide work for construction companies.

  20. Jozef Nakielski

    27th May, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    They’re opposite bob. They’d not have any valid reasons to object. Even an adjacent house wouldn’t for the application to turn it into a house. I meant any future application to build on the car park. An adjacent house may be able to object on loss of privacy or loss of light. You can’t use noise or traffic as the car park is busier (even though we know its not lol) than it would be if there were a house there.
    Its unlikely to be on a local plan as a potential development site though. Not called local plan any more but most people know it as such.

  21. Edingale Resident

    28th May, 2013 at 9:16 am

    The Black Horse Pub

    We have lived in the village for 12 years now and up until the present landlord took over it was always used by the local villagers and was indeed one reason why we moved to Edingale because it had a local pub.

    Unfortunately when the pub was taken over the owner wanted a modern contemporary wine bar style outlet more in keeping with a city centre. Children were not welcome, indeed they didn’t even provide a children’s menu initially. This alienated a lot of the locals with children. Edingale is a small rural village with a local school and village hall and full of families with children. From that point onwards the pub was always going to fail financially as it had rejected a large part of the community where potential turnover would come from.

    The opening hours were very sparodic, we’d sometimes walk up for a drink to find it closed. Groups of walkers awere also disappointed on numerous times because the pub was closed or they’d decided not to offer food that day.

    I have no doubt that in the right hands the pub would make sufficient profit to provide someone with a good income. I tried to find the pub some months ago on the internet to see how much they were asking for it and couldn’t find any trace of it being on the market for sale.

    Please do not under estimate how important pubs are to small village communities. Do not grant permission of change of use after a 200 year history in this village.

    (Note: This comment has been edited to meet the site rules)

  22. D.capper

    28th May, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Lets not forget the black horse football team. From the start the landlord made it clear that he had no interest in them because he plays rugby , his exact comment to a member of the football team was “can’t you play rugby instead” so straight away he turned away a full football team there followers and there associated business as customers. I can well understand why people would have a cynical view of what is going on.

  23. Cynic

    6th June, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Did you see Cameron (todays paper)has got a few £Million available for buying village pubs etc.?

  24. Jozef Nakielski

    7th June, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    On the plus side I won, pub opposite me saved. I objected with a valid reason (that apparently I know nothing about) and we the public have won. No flats conversion with car park on the back garden. :)
    I really hope this lovely village can save this building and one day get its pub back run by a proper landlord. Good Luck

  25. Jozef Nakielski

    10th July, 2013 at 10:47 am

    A CONTROVERSIAL plan to demolish a public house to make space for new homes has been thrown out by a committee.

    Members of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s planning committee agreed that knocking down The Golden Eagle pub, on Howat Road in Keresley End, would not be beneficial to the local community.

  26. gazza lichfield

    10th July, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    This pub has now been officially listed as a community asset under the localism act.

  27. Jozef Nakielski

    10th July, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Ah thanks Gazza, glad someone listened. Well done to all those concerned. Every saved pub is a public victory.

  28. Jozef Nakielski

    10th July, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    By the looks of the voting Gazza some people would prefer it went for housing.

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