Felixstowe pub could be demolished to make way for new shop and homes

The White Horse, Felixstowe.

The White Horse at Old Felixstowe could be demolished Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Permission is being sought to demolish a century-old Felixstowe pub to make way for a new convenience store and homes.

Punch Taverns says the White Horse is no longer viable and would need £150,000 of investment for an incoming tenant to improve the premises and relaunch it.

The pub has seen management changes many times over the years and the company says it is mainly used by local drinkers and is not seen as a venue for food.

Punch Partnerships (PML) Limited is now proposing to knock down the pub in Church Road, Old Felixstowe, and in its place build a convenience store with four two-bed apartments above, and two three-bed bungalows in the car park.

Residents writing on Facebook say a convenience store is not needed as there is large Spar and other shops only a few minutes' walk away on the main High Road East.

Punch admits that traffic in the quiet residential street will increase seven-fold - from 93 two-way trips to 726 two-way trips - if the store is built.

The White Horse was built in 1905 to replace a the former pub dating back to 1712. 

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In documents submitted to East Suffolk Council, agents CPC Planning Consultants Limited, for Punch Partnerships, said the new 326 sq m store would open daily from 6am to 11pm and provide 22 new jobs compared with the five people currently provided at the pub.

The White Horse, Felixstowe.

The current White Horse building dates back to 1905 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The agents said: "The proposals represent the repurpose of the unviable public house, into a viable business and residential use.

"The six new households will create new consumers which will contribute to existing services in the district, and the convenience store will help to boost the local economy.

"The proposals provide much-needed two and three bedroom dwellings to the local housing stock helping to meet the district's housing targets."

CPC Planning Consultants Limited said the majority of the trade at the pub was "drink focussed" relying on local regulars rather than food and people from outside the area.

It said: "The pub has recently found a declining trade, with a significant drop in revenue in 2019. Businesses such as the one run at White Horse have been unable to compete in the current market due to the lack of a food offering and declining wet sales resulting in the business as loss-making.

"Even with a substantial investment, in the region of circa £150,000, to improve the condition and presentation of the property, reflective of the existing choice in the immediate area, this would not attract any additional trade.

"Given the strength of the competition from multiple and individual operators in better locations nearby, it’s doubtful his operation in this location would survive.

"There have been considerable lifestyle changes over the past few years, and more to come, which have made premises such as the White Horse unviable.

"Fewer people frequent pubs regularly given the opportunities for in home entertainment or when they do venture to pubs would go to larger managed houses for their extensive food offering and spacious family friendly environments."