Once home to Indian restaurant Imani’s, the pub business at the Bulls Head, on Fairfield Road, was liquidated in May, having failed to file annual accounts since 2015, and new owners Rugby Property Assets Ltd – a company based in Warwickshire – hope to divide the three-storey building into 12 apartments.
Council policy allows pub conversions to be ‘resisted’ unless it can be shown that the existing use is no longer financially or commercially viable – which the applicant claims to be the case.
According to documents drawn up by Chester firm Base Architects: “There has been no commercial interest from other parties, independent or chain, to retain the public house function following its advertisement for sale in 2021.
“Therefore, it would be appropriate for the building to undergo a change of use that would be relevant and appropriate for this sustainable location.”
They further argue that there are plenty of alternative pub and restaurant facilities available nearby, and that “The local plan also highlights that the provision of new leisure facilities would be focussed within the main town centre or the Higher Buxton area of the town. This would suggest that the potential for improved viability for the public house at the Bulls Head would be limited.”
The building lies within the Fairfield conservation area, but the applicant says any external historic features consistent with the surrounding architectural context will be maintained during the remodel, and “there will not be any significant changes to the external appearance of the existing building.”
It is not clear from the application whether the 11 one-bedroom and one two-bedroom apartments would eventually be marketed for sale, rent or holiday lets. Each would have its own kitchen and bathroom facilities.
The applicant’s parent company, Gold Leaf Property Investments, describes itself as: “Constantly seeking unloved and/or poorly managed properties across England and Wales to improve and sell.”
The public consultation period for the plans ends on Thursday, June 23, with a decision expected from the council in August. For full details, search for application HPK/2022/0160 at highpeak.gov.uk.