Battle lines drawn over the future of Dog Inn in Harbury

MHLC-08-10-13 Dog Inn Oct35''Campaigners against plans to turn the former pub into a nursery and house are  Demonstration against the change .
MHLC-08-10-13 Dog Inn Oct35''Campaigners against plans to turn the former pub into a nursery and house are Demonstration against the change .

Campaigners in Harbury are opposing plans for a former village pub to be turned into a nursery - but its prospective manager says it will provide a ‘much needed’ service.

A group including residents and staff at Windmills and Harbury Pre-School - the village’s current childcare providers - say the plans to convert the Dog Inn in The Bull Ring into a nursery and also build a house on the site are not needed and they would prefer the pub to be reopened.

They are concerned the village will lose its only purpose-built public house forever and are also worried about traffic congestion.

Rachel Warwood, of Church Street, said: “people want the building to remain as a pub, it is also a listed building and in a conservation area and most of all the nursery will generate a substantial amount of traffic in the centre of the village at peak times.

“It would be situated on a busy three-way junction supported by narrow lanes not built to cater for such a traffic flow and the revised development does not have enough parking for the staff let alone parents.

“It will be dangerous to drop children off in the mornings and parking and traffic will be a nightmare.

“Overall residents do not want the nursery and we already have two existing childcare nurseries in the village.”

The application - a revised plan put forward after the initial proposal was withdrawn by the premises owner Jesse Stokes in order to address concerns over the location of the house, traffic and noise from the nursery’s outdoor play area - is due to go before Stratford District Council’s planning committee no later than November 11.

October 18 is the deadline for responses to the application.

Lucy Nealon, who wants to open a Banana Moon franchise at the premises, has pointed out that there is currently four pubs in the village and Harbury Social Club.

She said that there was insufficient demand for the pub to be bought by another brewery.

She said her business would be open for longer than the current childcare providers and would cater for children younger than those aged two and above who attend the other providers.

She added that the eight parking spaces provided in the plan are the maximum number allowed by Stratford District Council’s guidelines.

Mrs Nealon, who along with her husband Duncan grew up in Harbury and attended the village’s primary school, said: “We respect the concerns raised by a section of local residents however we strongly believe that we can offer a much needed service, and enable villagers to achieve the childcare they need within the village they and we love.”