Whitburn's Grey Horse pub to become shop and flats after plans approved for historic building

Plans to convert a former village pub into a shop and flats have been given the go-ahead by councillors – despite hundreds of objections.

The Grey Horse pub in Whitburn closed its doors for good in 2019, with investment company Grey Horse Inn Ltd taking over the historic site.

New development proposals included converting the building into a convenience store and flats.

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In November last year, the plans were stalled after South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee raised concerns about highway safety, parking and access issues for deliveries.

The Grey Horse pub building

The proposals also sparked opposition with a 506-signature petition objecting to the loss of the pub.

Councillors supported amended plans which aim to boost safety and improve access to the site at a meeting yesterday.

New measures include double yellow lines on both sides of Croftside Avenue – from the former pub’s car park to A183 East Street – and widening the junction itself.

Around 21 parking spaces will be provided with developers also agreeing to reduce the number of flats from three to two.

Planning officers recommended the plans for approval at South Shields Town Hall this week.

Planning operations manager, Peter Cunningham, told the meeting: “It’s unfortunate that the use of the site as a public house has been lost but there are other drinking establishments within this area.

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“The proposed use as a retail store would be in keeping with the commercial centre of Whitburn village.”

A viability study from the applicant, included in planning report, notes the pub has been “deprived of investment over the years” and would be costly to bring back into use.

This includes around £200,000 for a ‘sparkle’ refurbishment and repairs to equip it for trading.

Coun Doreen Purvis said: “I note that people are sad at the loss of the pub but it’s happening all over and nobody has come forward to take [the Grey Horse] over.

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“This is a proposal that would benefit people in the village and we’re now assured that reservations about parking have been met.”

The Grey Horse is classed as a ‘locally significant heritage asset’ by South Tyneside Council with the building dating back to 1840.