Plans to convert Bristol pub into flats rejected by council

Protesters outside The Windmill pub in Windmill Hill, Bristol
Residents have fought for almost two years to reopen the Windmill

Controversial plans to convert a much-loved south Bristol pub into flats has been unanimously rejected by city councillors - despite being recommended for approval.

It is considered a victory for campaigners who have fought to save The Windmill in Windmill Hill after it closed in March 2020.

Supporters loudly applauded the decision at City Hall on November 24 after the meeting became heated.

Hazel Collier, who is a Windmill Hill resident, said four generations of her family had frequented the pub.

"The uniqueness of The Windmill was the family room where we could enjoy family get-togethers with good beer, simple food in a separate space away from the bar," she said.

"No other pub in the area offers the same. There are dining pubs, sports pubs or alcohol watering holes suiting the clientele that use them.

The Windmill is said to date back to the 19th Century but the co-owner says it's no longer viable Credit: ITV News

Following the pub's closure in March 2020, the owners put it on the market and tried to get permission to convert the premises into flats.

Campaigners raised £200,000 to buy the pub from the owner - but they declined to sell.

'The pub stays as a pub'

According to Bristol City Council's current policies, a pub can only be lost if it is “no longer economically viable” or there is “a diverse range of other public houses in the locality”.

All nine members of the committee voted to reject the plans, with chairperson Cllr Ani Stafford Townsend declaring: “The pub stays as a pub."

Councillors said the pub could become a "goldmine" under the right ownership.

Cllr Fabian Breckels said: “I’m not convinced that there are enough alternative provisions within safe access for those people in Windmill Hill if we allow this pub to be lost.”

Co-owner Mike Cranney, who has helped run the pub for the past 15 years, added: "We tried untold amount of times to sell it as a pub. We spoke to many people about it.

"We really tried with the community group and unfortunately it didn't happen. The developer is the only person prepared to pay the money that it was valued at."

Credit: Amanda Cameron (Local Democracy Reporting Service)