Plans to give a new lease of life to a derelict Stamford pub have met with a mixed response from local residents.
The Northfields, in Drift Road, Stamford, has been unoccupied since May 2015 and is regarded by many as an eyesore.
A planning application has recently been submitted to South Kesteven District Council on behalf of a company called Basin Toplo Ltd.
The applicant is seeking permission to make a number of alterations to the building – including new windows and doors, plus changes to vehicular access and parking layout.
It rumoured the building could be turned into a new convenience store, run by a big-name supermarket, but those involved will not be drawn on the identity of potential future occupants.
Paul Sturgess, of property firm Caldecotte Group, is acting as an agent for the application.
He said: “The pub has been closed for some time and is not currently serving a purpose.
“If planning permission is granted, work will be carried out and it will look at lot better than it does currently.
“Discussions are ongoing with potential occupants of the building.
“We don’t yet know who will take it on, but it will be some sort of retail use.”
It is thought that a new convenience store – or even a revamped pub – are currently under consideration.
Mr Sturgess added that if permission is granted, it is possible the building work could be completed – and the new retail business open – in around six months’ time.
Aileen Marriott, who has lived in Drift Road for 40 years, said she had major concerns about the building being used as a shop.
She said: “The application includes plans for lorry access, an ATM machine and anti-ram raid bollards. This suggests a large commercial venture which would have a massive effect on a residential area.
“The corner of Drift Road and Kesteven Road is already a daily traffic hazard with over a dozen buses and many students’ cars using this area every day.
“Drift Road is also used as a rat run for cars avoiding East Street and the town centre.
“Local residents feel in the dark about what is going on. We received letters from the council informing us about the planning application on December 17 and any comments had to be submitted by January 5. The fact this fell over the Christmas period was very unfortunate – people were busy doing other things.
“We already have Lidl and Sainsbury’s in walking distance, a mini-market in Green Lane, a corner shop at the top of Drift Road and a post office. We don’t need a new shop.
“An ATM could be used 24/7. It would destroy our peace and privacy. I would rather the building is knocked down and the land used for some new housing.”
Tamsin Sheldrake, who lives in Kesteven Road, was also critical of the timing of the planning application.
She said: “The fact we’ve been notified at a time of year when it’s difficult to get hold of the district council is very questionable.
“The pub definitely does need a facelift and local residents would welcome that.
“We were hoping it would be reopened as a family-friendly pub serving food. But the plans make it sound like a shop is much more likely.
“A shop could put a question mark over other local retail businesses and increase traffic at a very busy junction.
“There would be traffic if it was a pub again, but mainly at night when fewer people are on the roads.
“I’d love to see the building in use as coffee shop, or even a children’s nursery. There’s a big garden and space upstairs for offices – plus the traffic wouldn’t be as dramatic.”
Mr Sturgess said the planning application was submitted to South Kesteven District Council on November 30 – and there was no intention to bury it over Christmas.
He added that careful consideration was being given to traffic issues – in consultation with planning officers and highways staff.