Bid to turn historic Banbury pub into a block of flats withdrawn

MHBG-28-06-12 Duke of Wellington Pub GV''The Duke of Wellington Pub on Warwick Road, Banbury ENGNNL00120120626134408
MHBG-28-06-12 Duke of Wellington Pub GV''The Duke of Wellington Pub on Warwick Road, Banbury ENGNNL00120120626134408

A bid to turn an historic Banbury pub into a block of flats has been shelved by the applicants just days before the end of a council consultation.

The Duke of Wellington on Warwick Road was subject to an outline planning application by Szynkarewicz & Halligan to demolish the existing, 19th century building and transform the site into an apartment block of six two-bedroom and two one-bedroom flats.

The plans were opposed by residents, some councillors and members of Banbury’s Civic Society, who believe The Duke of Wellington is among the last remaining vestiges of historic Neithrop, a settlement absorbed by Banbury as the town grew in size. Despite its long history, Neithrop falls just outside Banbury’s conservation area.

But on Friday, June 26, the application was withdrawn, days before the deadline for residents to have their say on the proposal on June 30. The move has reignited hopes among some residents the pub could now be preserved for the community.

Rob Kinchin-Smith, chairman of Banbury’s Civic Society, praised Cherwell District Council’s robust handling of the planning application but warned that the property could still be subject to a change of use, like the former Bell Inn in Hook Norton which was turned into a photocopy shop before being converted again to a seven bedroom luxury home.

Town councillor Steve Kilsby, representing Neithrop South, said: “I am extremely pleased the application has been withdrawn. Hopefully it means the applicants realise the strength of feeling about the pub and people to want it to remain part of the established streetscape. This is a necessary reprieve that gives us time to work on finding other forms of protection.

“I am not a planning expert, but my main concern is the historic aspect of this pub. It dates well back to at least the 1820s and was the meeting point for the organisers of the 1832 Machine Breaking Riots.”