Wednesday, March 30, 2022

News: Wetherspoons scales back revamp plans for Rotherham pub


J D Wetherspoon plc has updated plans for its remaining Rotherham town centre pub.

Rothbiz reported in 2020 on a planning application that would involve the demolition of an existing extension to the rear of The Bluecoat, a listed building next to the Town Hall, and the building of a new, larger extension in its place. These proposals would allow for a larger customer area and a larger kitchen to cater for the customer numbers.

Now new plans show that this proposed large extension has been scrapped.

Instead, the latest application includes a new stone external staircase to improve the route from the bar and kitchen to the externally seated customers.

Internally, changes to the layout on the first floor are designed to improve staff facilities.

Due to the existing condition of the pub, the site will undergo a full refurb as a part of this proposal which will include new finishes to floor, walls and ceilings where indicated in the drawings. As well as new light fittings where the existing ones are inconsistent or damaged.

The application, drawn up by Just H Architects for the pub group, state: "The site has been previously given approval for a much more extensive scheme which saw large changes to the pubs internal and external areas. However, the change in economic climate over the last few months has prompted our client into investigating a revised scheme, largely comprised of refurbishment works which will bring the property back to the company standards - as well as improved provisions for staff."

The name of the pub recalls the building's original use as a charity school, known as the Blue Coat School, from the school uniform. After 1547, the charitable work of the medieval guilds was taken over by the "Feoffees of the Common Lands of Rotherham." For the next 300 years, the Feoffees acted as a kind of town council. In 1708, they opened a Charity School in a rented property until 1776, when it moved into a permanent building.

A panel on the building is inscribed "THIS CHARITY SCHOOL / WAS ERECTED BY / THE FEOFFEES / IN THE YEAR 1776."

The plans add that all new elements of the proposed will be finished in materials to match existing, primarily stonework and wood panelling - the wood panelling throughout the pub will be refurbished.

Externally, the proposal will refurbish the existing joinery elements of the pub with repairs and a new paint finish for all exposed window frames.

The plans conclude: "We believe the impact of the development of the asset is of a positive nature, preserving all of the key assets which make the building unique. The works are prepared to improve the usage and accessibility of the pub for its staff. We believe these works to be minor and modest in comparison with the previously approved scheme."

In the first half of the financial year, which ended on 23 January 2022, J D Wetherspoon plc invested £26.6m in new pubs and pub extensions (2020: £23.7m), and £18.9m in existing pubs and IT (2020: £34.1m).

The company said that it was increasing investment levels, which are still substantially below the pre-pandemic period, on the basis that the adverse effects of Covid-19 were likely to diminish in the near future.

J D Wetherspoon website

Images: Google Maps


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