Anchor plans to include a pub

THE Anchor in Knaphill will be saved as a pub if the latest planning application for its site is approved.

Previous plans for what is one of the oldest buildings in the village involved knocking it down to replace it with homes and shops. These have all been refused, amid strong opposition from local people.

Now the owners, Premier Pubs Estate Ltd, want to create eight homes on the land, through building extensions and converting part of the pub to housing. However, they will keep some of the ground floor as a “drinking establishment”, restaurant and café.

The future of The Anchor has been in doubt for more than 18 months, especially since Woking Borough Council changed its mind about listing the pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) persuaded the council to grant that status in August 2016, but it removed the pub from the borough ACV list in December, following an appeal by lawyers acting for Premier Pubs Estate.

A public exhibition on a housing and shops scheme for The Anchor site was due to be held in April 2016 but the developers postponed the event, saying “we need a little more time to come up with a scheme for the site that does it justice”.

The Anchor was built as a hotel in the late Georgian period of the 1700s. It was one of the first buildings in Knaphill as the village grew rapidly due to the establishment of the Surrey County Asylum – later known as Brookwood Hospital.

The latest plan has been made by architects Z Group, which says in a statement to the council: “The pub has, in recent times, struggled commercially and reputably has attracted some anti-social behaviour.

“The scheme seeks to improve the appearance of the site, particularly to the rear and the High Street and aims to make a positive contribution to the local community.

“Premier Pubs Estate Ltd have to consider the best use for the premises to ensure a sustainable future for the existing building.”

Z Group’s plan is for a two-bedroom maisonette, two two-bedroom and five one-bedroom flats, plus the pub-restaurant space on the High Street side of the building.

Any comments on the plan must be sent to the council, by email or letter, by 30 November, quoting PLAN/2017/1167. Full details are available on the planning section of www.woking.gov.uk.

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