A pub company wants to rip historic green tiles from the outside of a locally listed Brighton pub.
Stonegate has applied for permission to remove the tiles from the Montreal Arms in Albion Hill, claiming it is vital to the pub’s economic future.
The pub’s lease is currently up for sale, and the listing says the external refurbishments are being done to increase passing trade.
But the plans have provoked an outcry from its neighbours, who want to preserve the pub’s history.
One, Ken Frost, said: “As we were reminded during covid, pubs are vital community assets. Therefore I am very pleased that Stonegate intend to continue to run the Montreal as a pub, rather than turn it into flats or let it rot with a view to selling it for development. I am also pleased that they want food to be served there.
“Whilst it is clear that the Montreal needs extensive refurbishment inside and outside, it is essential that the character of this long serving local is maintained – the green tiles must stay!”
Another, Melanie, said: “It’s a shame to lose the history and look of some great buildings in the area.
“Surely they shouldn’t be allowed to do this? The Rosehill and Village are great examples of developing without ruining the history of the area.”
The listing, in Brighton and Hove City Council’s register of local heritage assets, says: “Fascia refers to the ‘United’ Brewery. This is a reference to the Portsmouth & Brighton United Breweries Ltd.
“This brewery was formed by the merger of the Portsmouth United brewery and Brighton’s Rock brewery in 1927. The green-tiled frontage is typical of that company’s design.”
The planning application quotes the listing, but says: “The proposals are to ensure that this pub can continue to function and improve trade.
“The pub has been run down and is dilapidated and requires considerable expenditure and repair.
“Without the proposals taking place it will be very difficult for the property (and business) to trade successfully.”
It also references two further planning applications, which are not yet on the council’s planning portal – but it’s likely one will propose building an extension to house a kitchen onto the pub’s rear.
In the advertisement for the pub’s lease, Stonegate says: “The external area is currently undergoing a refurbishment modernising the exterior with new signage and décor to maximise passing trade.
“This pub would be ideal for a new starter with determination and enthusiasm, who can market the pub correctly to appeal to the demographic within the area.
“The pub has previously been run as a community site with pub games and sport however the changing needs of the increasing number of younger professionals and families within the local area requires a food offering and a more eclectic drinks range.
“The new publican should look to explore adding a commercial kitchen onto the rear of the pub and introduce a wider drinks range to increase revenue.”
Before the pandemic, the Montreal Arms was run by Pendry’s Pubs, but has not reopened since closing in March last year.
In May this year, Stonegate put a notice in the window announcing it was gaining entry to make the pub safe, without ending the tenancy.