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Football club's alarm over planned block of flats at this Hereford spot

View of the current site beside the A49 and inset, visualisation of the new apartment block <i>(Image: LDRS; Berrys, from application)</i>
View of the current site beside the A49 and inset, visualisation of the new apartment block (Image: LDRS; Berrys, from application)

A plan to turn the disused site of a former Hereford pub into six flats has finally been approved.

Reservoir Homes of Gloucester applied two and a half years ago to develop the derelict site of the Sportsman pub beside Widemarsh Common and Newtown Road, part of the A49 through the city.

Thought to date from the late 18th century, the pub was gutted by fire in 2008 then demolished in 2011, since when the half-hectare site has lain vacant and overgrown.

Hereford Times: The demise of the Sportsman pub, gutted by fire in 2008 and then levelled in 2011
Hereford Times: The demise of the Sportsman pub, gutted by fire in 2008 and then levelled in 2011

The demise of the Sportsman pub, gutted by fire in 2008 and then levelled in 2011 (Image: HT archive / Google Street View)

The three-storey apartment block would comprise six two-bedroom flats for market sale.

The plan included parking for 15 cars, while the single-lane road access around Widemarsh Common was to get two new passing places. The existing narrow direct road access onto the A49 would not be retained.

This represents the fourth recent attempt to redevelop the site, the most recent previous plan having been refused in 2020 on the basis of harm to the Widemarsh Common conservation area and excessive road noise for occupants.

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The revised plan drew no objections from official consultees.

But Alan Darfi, chief executive of Herefordshire Football Association which owns the neighbouring Lads’ Club and County Ground, pointed out the club has permission to use floodlights until 10pm and the site “is very busy most evenings and during the weekend”.

“This can cause issues with vehicles given there is only one access road to the proposed site with no space to pass,” he said.

Hereford Times: The design of the new apartment block
Hereford Times: The design of the new apartment block

The design of the new apartment block (Image: Berrys, from application)

And Lads’ Club trustee Matthew Land worried the scheme “will restrict the charity’s continued ability to function successfully, as it has for the last 100 years on this site” given its impact on access, safeguarding, and on the protected common, and fears that future residents would object to noise and lighting from the club.


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But planning officer Simon Withers said he did “not share the same level of concern as the objectors” and that future occupiers of the flats “would be very aware of the existing conditions in the locality”.

The building had been reoriented and noise reduction measures introduced since the previous refusal. But even so, “the strategy in effect relies on a ‘windows closed’ arrangement meaning that desirable internal noise standards will only be achieved in the flats closest to the road with windows closed”, he added.

But he concluded: “On balance, the applicant has engaged positively to bring forward a scheme that has addressed previous refusal reasons.”