Empty city pub could become flats

An empty city pub could still be converted into flats if an appeal is backed by the government.

Proposals to convert the Garibaldi Inn in St John’s into six flats were rejected by Worcester City Council’s planning committee last year but an appeal has now been lodged with the government’s planning inspectorate meaning the decision could be overturned.

The appeal, made by Mohammed Abyadul Hoque of Alpha 2 Investments, to the government’s planning inspectorate means officials will take another look at the plan and may overrule the city council.

The plan was unanimously rejected by councillors in July last year over fears it would make parking problems near the busy city gateway even worse.

Highways officers had stressed that at least eight car parking spaces – five more than had been proposed – would be needed to serve the new apartments before the plan could be supported.

Despite the strong objection from Worcestershire County Council’s highways department over the shortfall in parking, planning officers in Worcester had recommended to the planning committee that the plan should be given the green light.

The shortfall in parking was criticised by some members of the city council’s planning committee including Cllr Alan Amos who said it would be “irresponsible” to approve a plan with little regard for adequate parking spaces.

“You can’t keep trying to put a quart into a pint pot,” he said during the planning meeting.

“Just because you have a building doesn’t mean you can fill it with people and cars. You need to think of the consequences of these decisions.”

St John’s councillor Richard Udall, who admitted it was unlikely the pub would re-open, was supportive of the building being brought back into use but feared that the parking shortfall would cause “chaos” in an already heavily congested area.

It was not the first time city councillors had been asked to make a decision on the future of the pub in the city’s Bromyard Road, with a previous plan to convert the pub – which has been empty since 2019 – into seven flats rejected by planning officers in 2020.

By Christian Barnett - Local Democracy Reporter

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