Planning Permission granted to convert the Plough & Horses


Update:  The application to convert the Plough & Horses into apartments was approved at the Planning Committee meeting on Thursday (2nd June) by a vote of eight to one.

There were a number of objections submitted to the Council about the loss of the public house, the pub’s hotel rooms and whether 17 car parking spaces were sufficient for the new appartments.  Cllr Greg Rose, who is one of the two Wealden District Councillors for the Ward, asked for a written statement to be read to Committee before their deliberations.  This included concern about the impact of the loss of bedrooms might have on tourism in the town.

Like most planning application a list of conditions are attached, such as agreeing a traffic management scheme for construction vehicles and prior approval of the suitability of the bricks and tiles to be used.   In accordance with policy, four of the flats will be affordable homes, and the developer also has to contribute £6,170 per appartment towards the Council’s measures to protect the Ashdown Forest, namely the new recreational area on Walshes Road and a range of measures aimed at reducing impact from visitor numbers to the Forest.

Discussions have taken place with two almhouse charities in Crowborough (De Lannoy Cottages and Haven Home) about managing the four affordable homes.  Trustee Bob Bailey spoke at the meeting.

Click to watch a video of the 20-minute discussion at Planning Committee North.

Business as Usual

The Bar Manager at the Plough & Horses, Deborah Hersey, has told CrowboroughLife that it is very much ‘business as usual’ – the pub will remain open until at least March 2017.


The site also has to have A planning application has been submitted to extend and convert the Plough & Horses pub in Crowborough creating 12 apartments.

Plough and Horses pub Walshes Road in Crowborough (side view Feb 2016)The Plough & Horses have applied to Wealden District Council to convert and extend the public house on Walshes Road.  The Newton family have owned and run the pub for the past 36 years.   David and Brenda have been trying to sell the pub for around 12-years and have reduced the price by a quarter over this time.

The pub currently has 15 en-suite letting rooms, as well as two bars, a restaurant, and function area.

David and Brenda Newton told CrowboroughLife:

After trading here for such a long time it is with heartfelt regret that we have come to the decision that this is the best option for both us and the local community.   Over the past decade trading conditions have changed considerably due to the smoking ban, competition from national pub chains and medical advice about the dangers of alcohol consumption.  People are also drinking far more at home because of cheap supermarket prices.

We have marketed the business on a number of occasions.  However our location is not acceptable to the national companies who require main road or town centre sites and due to trading conditions independent buyers are wary to purchasing large premises such as ours when 28 pubs close every week and there are 17 pubs and clubs within a two and a half mile radius.

On the plus side, change of use will provide much needed affordable accommodation within walking distance of the railway station and with a bus stop virtually on the doorstep.  It will also considerably reduce congestion during peak traffic times and reduce our carbon footprint by a factor of 10.

Finally, we will of course honour all bookings and will give regular clubs ample time to fine alternative venues.

The plan is to convert the existing pub by creating eight apartments (one 1-bed,  six 2-bed and one 3-bed).  An extension will be built at the rear providing four additional 1-bed apartments, which will be made affordable accommodation.

The Deerstalker (formerly Half Moon Inn) situated at Friars Gate on the Ashdown Forest has also recently applied to go residential.

You can view the plans for the Plough & Horses on the Wealden District Council website (Ref WD/2016/0122/MAJ):

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  1. If these really will be ‘affordable’ apartments (why not all twelve?) it’ll be more justifiable than the Deerstalker, that will only become a large four-bed house for the present owners to live in, however much praise they deserve for their input and efforts in trying to keep the pub a going concern. At least Crowborough has the possibility of building affordable housing, unlike Withyham.

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