Windmill pub in Bedminster to be turned into flats after owners win appeal on refusal

The overturning of the refusal by Bristol City Council marks the latest twist in the long-running saga for the The Windmill pub in Bedminster

A pub in south Bristol will be converted into flats despite the council refusing planning permission last year.

The Windmill in Bedminster, on Windmill Hill, Bedminster closed in March 2020 and its owners applied for permission to convert the building into five apartments.

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But after campaigners fought against the plans, Bristol City Council’s development control committee refused to grant permission in November last year.

However, Bar Wars, which owns the pub, appealed to the planning inspector against the refusal, and the inspector has now allowed the appeal—granting permission for the flats.

Overturning the refusal marks the latest twist in a long-running saga of the local community fighting to save its pub, who previously said the loss would be a “travesty” for Windmill Hill. The main question in whether it should be converted is how many other pubs are nearby.

The Windmill pub was put up for sale at £500k - put no-one met the asking price

The planning inspector said: “The loss of the public house would be difficult to those residents who regularly used the facility, enjoy its proximity and the services it offered.

“However, based on the evidence before me, there are two existing alternatives within a short walk, together with a further eight public houses accessible along safe routes within a reasonable walking distance.

“The number of public houses within an 800-metre walk, along with the community and social activities they provide, amounts to a diverse range of public houses within the locality.

“As such, the facilities offered by the Windmill do not need to be retained to serve the needs of the local community.”

Victory for residents who campaigned to stop the Windmill pub from being turned into flats

Last November, councillors and residents argued that the Windmill offered a unique pub in the local area, and other nearby pubs were either too far to walk to or along routes that could be unsafe after dark.

Plans were initially granted permission by the council in November 2020. A legal challenge then led to the council quashing the decision, and the plans went back to the development control committee in November last year, when permission was refused.

The local community had tried to raise funds to buy the pub, but failed to raise enough money.