Second chance for community to save The Plough Inn in Sheffield, near Hallam FC, from houses plan

Sheffield councillors have narrowly voted to give a community a second chance at saving a historic football pub.

The Plough Inn in Sheffield could still be saved by the local community
The Plough Inn in Sheffield could still be saved by the local community

The Plough Inn, on Sandygate Road, has escaped demolition after plans were submitted to knock it down and turn it into eight new four-bedroom houses with a car park.

The current vacant building – which sits opposite Hallam FC, the oldest football ground in the world – was built in 1929 but there is evidence the pub existed in one form or another since the mid 1600s.

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Members on the planning and highways committee voted five in favour of the plans and five against, with Councillor Jayne Dunn, chair of the committee, giving the casting vote against.

Councillor Andrew Sangar, who voted to refuse the plans, said: “Clearly this is a difficult one, I will be opposing the officers’ recommendation (to approve the plans).

“The community in Crosspool have made every effort, they got it listed, they had hundreds of people supporting it and raised tens of thousands of pounds. I simply think it’s a real problem with the legislation in terms of how we support the community and I don’t think the council has done enough to support the local community.

“I think it’s still registered until April 2023 and we should reject the application today and give the community another chance to get The Plough back into community use.”

It follows years of campaigning by the community who previously fought off plans for a supermarket on the site in 2017.

Ahead of the meeting there were 205 objections received by the council including from Save Britain’s Heritage, the Campaign for Real Ale and the Crookes and Crosspool Green Party.

Objectors said there was enough local support to revive it as a viable pub, demolishing it would be “cultural vandalism” and that it should be celebrated as a historic football site.

Others, including Sheffield FC, said the site – which has fallen into disrepair since it closed in 2016 – is an “eyesore” and should be put to better use. Sheffield FC also disputed claims the rules of modern football were drawn up in the pub.

However Councillor Anne Murphy, local ward councillor and chair of the Sheffield Home of Football, spoke in the meeting to object to the plans and said the site was nevertheless “indisputably linked” to the game.

Coun Murphy, who also said she lives “around the corner” from the pub and her family and friends were regulars before it closed, said: “The historic value of The Plough pub alone is immeasurable to the residents of Sheffield who care and want to retain as many historic buildings as possible.

“This pub and site is the heart of the home of world football. Other cities would be trying to bring the building back to life and promote it as an asset to the city, not tear it apart.

“It’s cricket and football heritage is unquestionable, being opposite the oldest football ground in the world and was the headquarters of the Hallam Cricket and Football Club and also served as the changing rooms.

“The Plough Inn is indisputably linked to the beautiful game and its history.”

In their decision, the committee went against the recommendations of council officers who said: “Whilst regrettable, it is considered that the proposal to demolish the public house and redevelop the site for good quality housing can be justified.”