Fight to save Kingswood’s historic Tennis Court pub from being demolished

Chris Skidmore with regulars at the Tennis Court Inn

Chris Skidmore with regulars at the Tennis Court Inn

tennis court 002Developers want to knock down a landmark pub where Kingswood’s infamous Cock Road Gang once drank and build 14 flats on the site.

Concerned local Ray Bazeley contacted MP Chris Skidmore to help fight the application to knock down the Tennis Court Inn. The applicant is Tollgate (Hanham) Ltd.

Locals say there has been a pub there since 1644 and part of the rear of the current inn dates from 1745 when the main road ran that side of the building.

Mr Skidmore has started a petition to save the pub which is currently trading.

It is understood it is not listed. The proposed redevelopment is for 14 self-contained one and two-bed apartments, plus parking. Kingswood RFC’s ground is at the rear of the pub.

A statement of significance prepared by consultants says they are not aware of any significant historic associations with local people or past events but locals say the Cock Road Gang drank there.

The application says the site is in a predominantly residential neighbourhood and the flats would “provide more badly needed dwellings”.

A marketing report from Maggs & Allen says: “The particulars have been extensively marketed and circulated. Although some interest has been obtained to continue as a pub, these parties have not been willing to commit to the required rent or have not been able to fund the purchase.

This part at the rear dates from

This part at the rear dates from the mid 18th century

“Given the location, trading history and benefit of a very large car park to the side, a redevelopment of the property to provide residential accommodation/additional dwellings would seem to be the best use.”

A viability report says there are several other pubs within a mile.

Mr Bazeley said: “The Tennis Court Inn is a part of the social and meeting place for people in and around this part of Kingswood. There’s been beer sold on this site since 1644 so it also has an historical interest.

“With regards to the build of 14 flats, it would cause a major traffic problem with only a front access so close to the junction and the two schools that are close by.”

Mr Skidmore said: “In the past I have campaigned to save community pubs such as the Lamb at Cadbury Heath. The Tennis Court would be a really significant loss. We are setting up a petition to oppose the application to demolish it and to also try to get it listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) to give it the security it needs.”

ACV legislation removes permitted development rights, ultimately giving communities a say in what happens if the owner wants to demolish a pub or convert it to another use.

Comments on the plans, reference PK15/2642/0, are invited by 15th July.

Last year another part of Kingswood’s pub history disappeared with the demolition of the Highwayman. There are now homes on the site.