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Controversial plans for flats at Ellesmere Port pub site expected to be resubmitted

Original proposal for supported living apartments on The Sutton site led to objections

The Sutton in Ellesmere Port where anger has arisen over plans for a conversion to supported living flats(Image: Google Street View)

Plans are expected to be resubmitted which could lead to the loss of another Ellesmere Port pub.

The issue first arose earlier in the year at The Sutton, formerly the Marquis, on Gleneagles Road in Great Sutton.

The Hilldale Housing Association, on behalf of a care provider, propose to convert and extend the closed 1970s pub to provide 15 flats for supported living.

The small, specialist housing association – created in 2009 and based in the north west – says its purpose is to provide high quality housing to people who need additional support.

The vacant pub occupies a large corner plot with generous car parking, according to a report.

But Hilldale said residents would seldom possess vehicles and there is a bus stop outside neighbouring shops which connects to Ellesmere Port town centre.

Trees along the boundary would be retained. An access point on Drummond Avenue would be blocked off and there would be a video door entry system and security floodlights.

The association told planning officers at the time the pub was rebranded in 2010. Since then it had become an unviable business with at least six larger competitors within a mile radius, it claimed.

Hilldale concluded: “The proposal to convert, refurbish and extend the existing, vacant pub building into a small, residential hub containing 15 individual flats will prove to be a valuable and sustainable facility in the community for the future.”

Safety fears

Concerns arose in the community with Charlie Miller of Hallfield Park, Great Sutton, telling the borough council: “There is very little information with regards who will be living at the property.

“If it is people with social issues which is likely to attract anti-social behaviour then I feel the application should be refused because there is a bus stop adjacent to the property which is used every morning and afternoon by children getting the bus to and from school.

“Most of the children walk to the bus stop without parents and the children’s welfare and safety should come first.”

Robinson Road resident Stephen Clegg suggested: “The Sutton (formerly the Marquis) performs a valuable community focus for residents in its vicinity and its loss would represent hardship to this community.

“Ellesmere Port cannot afford to continue to lose its pubs at this rate.

"It already has the feel of a ghost town and the remaining establishments do not cater for more than a narrow group of mainly the younger customer.

“Lack of real choice and decline of community amenities will only perpetuate, even exacerbate, the general emptiness and air of desolation that pervades Ellesmere Port.”

While Vikki Bridson-Vice, of Philips Lane, explained: “I have great concerns this planning application may lead to drug addicts and those suffering with substance misuse being housed directly opposite my home or potentially the property could be used as a bail hostel.

“This will then attract a range of anti-social behaviours. Why is a housing association based in Wigan running a supported living accommodation here? What do they know about our local community? Absolutely nothing!!”

The application was subsequently withdrawn, according to the borough council. An approach has been made to the housing association.

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