An historic pub which fell into disrepair after closing its doors three years ago is to be knocked down and replaced with a ‘like for like’ boozer. The Three Arrows Inn – at the junction of Pilsworth Road and Moss Hall Road, in Heywood – has been blighted by vandalism since calling last orders in 2019.
But the now-derelict watering hole, which dates from 1840 or even earlier, is set for a resurrection of sorts. Russell Homes has lodged plans to demolish the building, on the edge of the town’s industrial estates, and create a new establishment on the one-acre plot.
The former pub site is just 600m away from the proposed South Heywood Development, where the developer plans to build 1,000 homes over the next 15 to 20 years. Russell Homes says it is keen to secure approval for a replacement pub and proceed with demolition ‘as soon as possible’, as vandals continue to target the building.
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A planning document submitted to Rochdale council reads: “The proposed development will see the demolition of the increasingly unsafe Three Arrows building, which has been subject to repeated vandalism since its closure several years ago.” The new two-storey pub would provide the same amount of floorspace – 609 square meters – as the original building.
The layout would also remain the same, with the building occupying the western part of the site and a car park to the east. Cars would still enter off Pilsworth Road while there is also pedestrian access from Moss Hall Road.
The document adds: “The pub is proposed as a like for like replacement of the existing – and therefore represents a building of the same size, scale, massing and siting as the existing.” While close to the area’s industrial estate, the site is in a rural location in the green belt.
Development within the green belt is generally deemed ‘inappropriate’ unless ‘very special circumstances’ can be demonstrated by the applicant. However, Russell Homes believes the proposal would come under an exemption which includes ‘the replacements of a building, provided the new building is in the same use and not materially larger than the one it replaces’
A planning document adds: “The building will be the same size and in the same part of the site and therefore will have no greater impact on the openness of the green belt.” Similarly, the applicant asserts that heritage concerns are no longer relevant, despite the unlisted pub’s inclusion in the Greater Manchester Historic Environment Record.
An assessment carried out by Turley Heritage finds that ‘the building has been altered to the extent that any architectural or historic interest has been severely eroded and as such, built heritage considerations should not pose a barrier to its demolition’.
Rochdale council will ultimately decide whether to grant planning permission for the proposed scheme.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.