Sadness as village pub’s new owners have no plans to revive bar - but proposals for jobs boost and business welcomed

A community is continuing to mourn the loss of one of its last pubs after its new owner confirmed they hope to turn it into a shop.

By Fiona Thompson
Thursday, 16 May, 2019, 06:00
The Grey Horse welcomed its last customers as a pub earlier this year.

The Grey Horse in Mill Lane, Whitburn, closed in February after its bosses Greene King decided to sell the 1840 building.

Its new owner has confirmed it hope to transform the site, which has a car park at the rear, into a convenience store, with a change of use application to be submitted to South Tyneside Council.

Coun Tracey Dixon

Related: New owners of Whitburn’s Grey Horse confirm plans to turn pub into a shopThe redevelopment would also include two flats created upstairs, alongside the former manager’s accommodation above.

If planning permission is granted, it is expected work could commence, with a shop open by the end of the year.

A total of 20 full and part-time jobs would be created.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, who represents the Whitburn and Marsden ward on the council, said she welcomed the additional jobs to the village, but said it was sad the bar had been lost.

A photo from the archives of the Grey Horse during its public house days, dated 1981.

“It’s disappointing and a shame the new owners couldn’t keep it as a public house, but all we hope for is that they will agree and remember to work with the community in what they are doing.

“I think a shop could possibly be detrimental, but I’m sure the village will support all its businesses.

“Of course the jobs will be good and we hope it will be local people that are offered employment.”

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It has said the shop will sell a basic range of groceries, ready meals, sandwiches and snacks, beers, wines and spirits and a range of fresh fruit and vegetables and could be open by the end of the year if the change of use is approved.

The external appearance would be unchanged except for signage sympathetic to its prominent conservation area location.

Robin Hunter said: “Fantastic idea.

“The village could really do with a Co-Op/Sainsburys/Tesco and will mean less travelling to Morrison’s etc for day-to-day shopping.”

Ian Richardson said: “Sounds like a good use of the building, the days of the pubs are finished now I think.”

Others suggested the two businesses could be combined, with half used as a shop and the remainder used as a bar.

Kenneth Dowson said the plans are “Destroying this village” while some pointed out the pub would have stayed open if it had enough custom, lamenting what they believe was a lack if investment by its previous owners.

Julie Welsh said: “It’s an old fashioned pub and should stay that way,” while Kim Thompson added: “What a shame all these lovely old pubs are being turned into mini supermarkets.”