Co-op could open in landmark village pub

JPCT 040913 The Coach House, Cowfold. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 040913 The Coach House, Cowfold. Photo by Derek Martin

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A Cowfold building which was home to a landmark pub has been pre-let to The Co-operative, according to investors.

The Coach House in The Street closed abruptly nearly a year ago and has been boarded up ever since.

But a planning application for an extension at the site has recently been permitted and in the near future it could be home to a Co-op food store.

Mayfair-based investment firm Evolve Estates has added The Coach House to its portfolio.

On its website, under the subheading ‘convenience store’ and accompanied by a photo of the village building, a small description reads: “Pre-let to Co-op, plus further development.”

The County Times contacted the company to ask for more information, but was told staff were too busy to talk.

The Co-op already has a branch a stone’s throw away from the former pub in the same street.

This week a spokesperson for The Co-operative Food said: “We are in discussions with the developer of the former Coach House pub in Cowfold about opening a store on the site, but this is subject to a number of planning considerations therefore it is too early to confirm any details.”

It did not comment on the ‘pre-let’ status or any plans for the current store.

On October 8 this year a planning application was received by Horsham District Council for a proposed single storey flat roof extension.

In response, a letter of consultation from Cowfold Parish Council dated October 25 reads: “We have no objections to this new store but would like to make the observation that the application states that there are no parking spaces on this site when there is in fact a large car park.

“Also the application is for a store for the existing public house when the owners of the site have pre-let the Coach House to the Co-op, a retail outlet.”

The application has been permitted.

Parish council chairman Vic Allmond hopes the integrity of the building would be preserved regardless of what the future holds.

“I would rather see [Co-op] than a McDonald’s or a fast food outlet. They need to keep the character of the building.

“I don’t think it would harm the village to have a better site, it would have to rely an awful lot on passing footfall.”

The pub closed in January this year and, at the time, Enterprise Inns was appealing for a new publican to take the business forward.