Fringe Box



Community’s Fight To Save the Forresters Pub

Published on: 9 Aug, 2012
Updated on: 20 Aug, 2012

A community in Guildford is stepping up its fight to prevent a boarded-up pub being converted into homes.

The Forresters in Cooper Road, Charlotteville, Guilford.

Two planning applications have been lodged with Guildford Borough Council for the Foresters pub in Cooper Road, Charlotteville. One is for partial demolition and the other is for a change of use to residential properties.

The Holy Trinity Amenity Group (HTAG) has stated that in its view the area does not need more houses, along with extra cars it would generate, and that it would prefer the building to remain a pub. Residents have suggested combining a pub function with something else, such as offering bed and breakfast accommodation, a coffee bar, facilities for social functions or small scale business facilities.

A survey undertaken by the Charlotteville Jubilee Trust has been conducted taking in 181 homes in Cooper, Addison and Cline Road. It reveales that there is overwhelming support for the building to re-open as a pub and not converted into homes.

John Redpath of the Charlotteville Jubilee Trust said: “A well run and well managed public house with additional facilities such as a small shop, mail order collection and so on, can be a huge benefit to any community.  No one is proposing re-creating what was there before, our proposals are for something far different and far more beneficial to all.”

HTAG on its website states that it is “considering organising an action group meeting to discuss the plans – whether there is opposition to the current applications and also whether there is support for community involvement in the pub as a ‘community asset’.”   

It adds that for continued use as a pub, there would need to be considerable financial investment in the property and the owner probably regards residential development as the more profitable option. 

HTAG also says that there has been a suggestion of registering the pub as a ‘community asset’ so that it can keep the option open of the community acquiring the pub if it comes on the market.

On long-term resident in the area said this week: “I arrived here 22 years ago and it was a village called Charlotteville – with a post office and grocery shop, a butcher and farm produce shop and a family friendly pub that served Sunday lunch for the village, ran raffles and was very much a centre of the community. There will be no Charlotteville left if we do not take the last chance of saving the pub!”

John Redpath adds: We have taken advice from a government localism adviser who said that if we want to retain the Forresters as an amenity it is essential that we get the council’s planners on side. 

“If planning permission for change of use is refused outright, the developer’s choice will be either to appeal, which is both costly and time consuming for them, or cut their losses and sell the property at a reasonable price – rather than the 66% mark up they have been trying sell it for.”

However, not everyone wants to see it re-open as a pub or become a ‘community asset.’ An un-named person living close to the pub who moved there more recently, told John Redpath: “When I moved in seven years ago I knew of only two children in Cooper Road. Now there are 14. This doesn’t include Cline Road where their are plenty more.

“All them have bedrooms facing the pub. Are you really going to subject them all to this? Do you really want all the families to move away or rent their houses out?

“Do you really want to devalue all the houses, let them go back to rented properties which are not cared for in the same way that your owner occupiers will do and have been doing?

“You talk about communities but you won’t have one in this part of Cooper/Cline Road. You have a community centre at the Spike which I commend your hard work on. It is a great facility that actually has parking, why do you want another?

“You want the pub to be a shop, yet you have shut your own? Have you been subjected to the noise of the pub? Witnessed the fights, the drink driving, the verbal and on one occasion physical threats from the patrons? Does the cigarette smoke waft into your child’s window?”

The planning applications are: 12/P/01224 The Forresters, Cooper Road, Guildford, GU1 3LY Conversion and part redevelopment of the Foresters Public House to provide two, one bedroom flats and two, two bedroom semi-detached houses and Conservation Area Consent for partial demolition of The Foresters Public House, and 12/P/01225 Conservation Area Consent for partial demolition of The Foresters Public House.

Mr Redpath is urging people to voice their opinions with Guildford borough planners. Go to:—planning

The pub has an interesting history and a few name changes down the years. In 1870 it was called the Forester, then in 1871 it became the Forester Inn. In 1944 it became the Forresters Arms. For many years it had the unofficial name of the Pig and Tater. In 1976, that name became official, only changing back to Forresters in the last few years.

What’s your opinion? Should it be re-opened as a pub with additional facilities, or converted into homes? Leave a reply in the box below.

Share This Post