By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
The Nottingham Legend pub is to be demolished in favour of building a five-storey student housing block in its place.
Developers have been given planning permission to knock down the building on Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham. The venue is a popular meeting place for ice hockey fans and players due to its close proximity to the Motorpoint Arena.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) tried to halt the application by sending a formal complaint to Nottingham City Council three hours before today’s (July 21) meeting to decide the plans.
The contents of the letter were not disclosed in the meeting, but the organisation criticised the way the council had “handled this item” with the “potential for a judicial review”.
CAMRA had previously said closing the Nottingham Legend would “create a pub desert in that part of the city centre”.
More than 50 people had objected to the proposal, calling for Nottingham City Council’s planning committee to reject the decision on Wednesday, July 21.
The objectors included Councillor Sam Webster (Lab) and Councillor Angharad Roberts (Lab), who represent the city’s Castle Ward.
They said that “the poor design of the building will not benefit the local area” and residents were worried about “the high density” of the development.”
Concerns were also raised about an increase of noise and anti-social behaviour from the 40 student apartments due be built there.
The five-storey block will have a main entrance off Lower Parliament Street leading into ground floor communal spaces, including lounge, kitchen, cinema, and laundry rooms.
There would be a cycle facility and one disabled car parking space.
The plans, submitted by Punch Pubs and Co, have “devastated” the current landlady, Michelle Padley, who has leased the pub from the company for the last seven years.
Planning officers recommended councillors approve the application as the council has no policy in place to save the pub from demolition.
They also said the demand for student housing has “outstripped supply for a number of years” and if the council wants to “create more balanced communities” there needs to be more purpose-built student accommodation.
Councillor Maria Joannou (Lab) said: “I can see the rationale behind why we need student accommodation but are they really freeing up homes for people, which will originally hoped the plan would be? I don’t know how much of that has really happened.”
Councillor Toby Neal (Lab) said he found the design of the building “uninspiring”.
“I find it bland and uninteresting. The windows are small – and the entrance seems like an afterthought and there is a lot of brickwork. I feel like this is an opportunity to do something more engaging. It does not inspire me.”
Councillor Graham Chapman (Lab) said the council has to move as many students back into the city centre to free up houses in residential areas.
He said: “We can’t stop students. People think we can put barriers up and have custody gates to stop them, but we can’t.
“Seriously, we aren’t even in the position to say these buildings can’t go to student accommodation. We would be subject to an appeal and we would lose.
“We need to move the students and move as many students into the city centre as possible.
“Students will go out and spend money in the city and they attract parents visiting that will also spend money in the city.”
Councillors sitting on the planning committee voted to accept the application. Six members voted in favour and two abstained.