Traffic changes in Whitburn planned under shop and flats bid for Grey Horse pub

Plans to convert a former village pub into a shop and flats could be given the green light next week.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 7:12 pm

Following its closure in February 2019, the Grey Horse in Whitburn was bought by investment company Grey Horse Inn Ltd.

Brewery chain Greene King said it had been a “difficult decision" to close the pub, which dates back to 1905 – though an inn has stood on the site since as far back as 1840, according to local historians.

Its new owners said they had been unable to see a future for the building as a pub.

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The Grey Horse in Whitburn in 2019.

A new vision for the building included converting the ground floor into a convenience store and other areas into flats.

The venture is expected to create around 20 full/part-time jobs with the shop offering a range of groceries, snacks, alcohol and fresh produce.

In November 2019, South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee deferred the plans following concerns over highway safety, lack of parking spaces and access issues for deliveries.

Next week, councillors will discuss an amended application which aims to tackle traffic issues at the site.

This includes new double yellow lines on both sides of Croftside Avenue – from the former pub’s car park to the junction with the A183 East Street – and extra junction widening works.

Although four parking spaces will be lost on the street, the changes aim to improve safety and ease the movement of delivery vehicles.

Developers also agreed to provide 21 parking spaces and cycle parking on site while reducing the number of flats from three to two.

Planning officers have recommended the plans for approval, describing the works as an “acceptable redevelopment of this site”.

The report reads: “The applicant’s viability study has demonstrated that it would not be viable to refurbish the existing public house given that it has been deprived of investment over the years.

“Subject to the suggested planning conditions, it is considered that the proposed access and parking arrangements are acceptable and the proposed development would not be materially detrimental to highway safety.”

The Grey Horse is classed as a ‘locally significant heritage asset’ by South Tyneside Council with the building dating back to 1840.

Following a request from council planners last year, a photographic record of internal heritage features of the building has been submitted and approved.

However, planners have stressed that works to the inside of the building could be done at any time without planning permission.

The report goes on to say: “The design of the proposed development would respect the character of the area and visual amenity, including the fact that the site is situated within the Whitburn Village Conservation Area.

“The loss of internal fabric to this locally listed building, whilst regrettable, could be undertaken irrespective of the outcome of this planning application.”

Councillors will discuss the plans on Monday, February 17 at South Shields Town Hall.

The meeting starts at 10.30am and is open to the public.