Tensions rise over Ropsley Fox pub plans at parish meeting

Villagers are angry at plans to turn the Ropsley Fox into housing.
Villagers are angry at plans to turn the Ropsley Fox into housing.
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A heated debate broke out at the Ropsley parish council meeting last night over plans to turn the 17th Century Ropsley Fox pub into houses.

Residents affected by the proposals said they felt let down by the parish council regarding the extent to which their views had been expressed in a letter to district planning officials.

Among them were Craig and Meganne Chambers who live on The Chase, the road located behind the Ropsley Fox which will see the biggest impact if the development is approved.

Mr Chambers said: “The houses going at the back, the garden of the pub, back right on to our house. We are going to be staring at a brick wall.

“I have lived in this village all my life and it is a brilliant pub when it is in the right hands. It could be an absolutely brilliant pub again.”

The two planning applications submitted to South Kesteven District Council by the pub’s owner Dave Smith are to change its use to three houses and a shop, and to build three further houses.

However several villagers at the meeting made it clear that they want it to remain a pub, including one speaker who said: “If it was going to be sold to be kept as a pub then none of us would be here. We would be down the pub having a drink.”

Victoria Baker of Muston Fields, who is part of a group that put together a petition against the plans, said: “If we don’t stand up for it then we will lose it as an amenity.

“The pub was in my family for a good many years in the 1970s, when my uncle and god-parents had it. It is emotional. I don’t want to see it go.”

During the meeting it was also claimed that an asking price offer on the Rospley Fox had been made by Sharon and Phil Beetham who own the Red Lion in Newton.

Mrs Beetham confirmed that her husband had emailed Mr Smith as they were very interested in buying the pub, but that no offer had been made after they were told about the planning application.