New proposals could soon see Bury St Edmunds’ former Minden Rose pub reopen as a day nursery.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council has received a change of use planning application to turn the Greene King-owned pub in Newmarket Road - which has remained closed since May 2012 - into a nursery.
Paul Sharp, director of Kids Play, on Station Hill, Bury, and its parent company Rollers UK Ltd, which no longer has a presence in the town, has been named as the applicant.
If the change of use is successful, he plans to buy the site from Greene King and move ahead with his proposal.
He said opening the nursery would create around 16 full time positions and that, subject to Ofsted approval, he expected the site to provide sufficient space for between 50-60 children.
In comparison, Kids Play - which provides a day nursery as well as out-of-school clubs and activities - is registered for 80 children.
Of the Minden Rose site, Mr Sharp said: “It’s a great location for a nursery and we’re very keen to expand our child care in Bury.”
He added: “Suffolk (County) Council has highlighted that there’s a need for additional child care in Bury and the surrounding towns, which fits in with our strategy of expanding child care.”
The amount of outside space at the Minden Rose was one of its attractions for Mr Sharp, who said that is something which is limited at Kids Play on Station Hill.
“We believe children should have lots of outside space,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Greene King said: “The Minden Rose was closed in spring 2012 and is up for sale following a review of our pub estate.
“We are currently in discussions with a potential buyer, the details of which must remain confidential at this stage.”
Of the submitted application, Lisa Butcher, chairman of the West Suffolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “The thing is this hasn’t been a viable pub for some time. It would be a great shame to lose another pub but, sadly, at the moment that’s the way things are going.”
She added: “CAMRA does try to save as many pubs as possible nationwide, but some just aren’t viable businesses anymore.”
Summing up his position, Mr Sharp said: “There’s demand in the town, we think it’s a great location and it’s a nice, big site with plenty of outside space, which we think children will benefit from.”
The consultation period for the planning application expires next week, with its determination deadline listed as February 17.