Developer wants to convert former pub into homes

PLANS to convert former Downend pub the White Swan into homes have been submitted to South Gloucestershire Council.

The pub in North Street closed in 2021, and sold for just over £300,000 last year after operator Admiral Taverns said it did not have a “long-term sustainable future”.

The building, which was built in the 1840s and is believed to have been trading as a pub since the 1880s, It was boarded up and fenced off from the road more than a year ago.

Now a planning application has been submitted to convert the building into two two-bedroom homes, with off-street parking for three cars.

Owner Claire Adams of Mordam Developments Ltd has also applied to demolish the pub’s single-storey extensions at the rear to provide gardens and fill in the beer cellar.

A design statement submitted with the plans says removing the rear extensions, and an “unstable” side extension where part of the stone parapet previously collapsed, would return the building to its “original, more tranquil state”.

The area covered by the side extension would be rebuilt as a two-storey structure, meaning the first floor frontage would be wider than it is now.

A viability study produced for the application by agents Savills concluded the site could not make a profit as a pub, adding: “If reopened, the property would not survive as a business and in turn its operation may have a detrimental impact on existing venues.”

As the Voice went to press two objections to the plans had been published on the council’s planning website.

One was from a former landlord of the pub, Andrew Clough, who said: “I had some of my best years whilst running this pub and hope I did try to keep some sort of amicable relationships with the neighbours present there at the time.

“However, without the proper support from the local council and owners of the establishment this pub will never re-open again.

“The history of this pub should be conserved, maintained and continued but will only do so through private owning, (as a community?) – to make it a freehouse would benefit the local residents.”

Jackie Cashley said: “The pub building is part of the history of Downend – too many of the buildings in Downend have been converted to houses.”

However neighbour Peter Sheppard said: “When the Swan was a pub we had a lot of noise problems and abuse from the tenants.

“We would welcome the building being brought back into use as two houses.

“There are plenty of public houses in the area; many of them claim to be struggling to survive and the Downend Tavern has been empty for years.”

The plans can be viewed on the council’s planning website by searching for application P23/02669/F.