BEER is set to flow again at an historic Worcester pub thanks to a scheme to transform parts of it into flats.
The Bush Inn, in St John’s, has been closed for more than a year and fears had been raised in the area over whether or not it would ever reopen.
However, the pub’s long term future appears to be safe after Worcester City Council’s planning committee agreed to a project which will see four flats created at the 134-year-old site and a smaller “niche” pub open its doors.
Coun Pat Agar, who was the only member to vote against the scheme, raised concerns about a loss of space on the ground floor due to the inclusion of a one bed apartment.
But Andrew Boughton, director of planning at BB Architecture and Planning, told councillors it would allow money to be pumped into the pub, which is listed on the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.
“If you look at the situation with pubs at the moment, there are thousands being sold off,” he said.
“What we are putting forward is a proposal to try and keep it as a pub with a traditional operation.
“We believe there is demand for a small niche pub. It also has an architectural quality which is superior to other places in the area and I think it will function.”
Coun Paul Denham was among a number of councillors to back what he described as an “imaginative proposal”, while Coun Derek Prodger added: “I think this is a very nice location and a very attractive building. I hope people support the pub and I wish them well as it is a very good scheme.”
Speaking after the meeting, Bill Ottaway, of Worcester CAMRA, said he was looking forward to seeing it get back up running.
“A lot of people have commented saying ‘it is sad to see it closed’, so it is fantastic that the owners have got the planning permission to allow the pub to reopen,” Mr Ottaway said.
“Any pub which goes through so many changes is always at risk of not being reopened at all as some people might think they could make more money by redeveloping the whole site and therefore losing the pub.
“But what we have got here is somebody who is looking to retain it while keeping it viable.”