HOPES that a former pub could be revived seem to have been dashed by a new planning application to have it demolished and replaced with flats.
Plans to redevelop the former Imperial Hotel in Oxford Street were originally submitted in 2014, but were withdrawn by the owner after Rugby Borough Council said more effort should be made to keep it as a pub.
The owners of the site have now re-submitted the application to build 14 flats and one 12-bedroom house of multiple occupation, claiming there has been no interest from buyers wanting to re-open the pub.
A marketing report produced by estate agents George and Company concludes: “Despite a comprehensive marketing campaign, there has been no committed interest in the premises to acquire the property in public house/hotel use.”
Reasons cited for the lack of interest were the deteriorating condition of the building, the general decline in demand for pubs, and the pub’s location in a residential area.
But a local campaign group to save the Imp, as it is known, believes more effort could have been made to revive the pub.
Spokesman Steven Wright said: “I don’t think the marketing was done thoroughly enough. The signs outside weren’t up for very long. I think it was a bit of a token effort.
“I think it represents the potential loss of an amenity. The town’s growing at an alarming rate and our objections still apply from before.
“Even if it’s never a pub again, it’s still a site that could be something of benefit to the community. But once it’s residential, it’s never going to get converted back to a business use or anything like that.
“It’s the end of the road,” he concluded. “We can’t really go anywhere with it now.”
Marketing for the pub, which began in 2014, was interrupted in October of that year when it caught fire in a suspected arson attack.
Rugby Borough Council will accept comments and objections to the planning application until December 10.