Signs of trouble as pub looks for new image

Yewtree Pub
Yewtree Pub

Plans to rebrand an old Sheffield pub have been blocked amid community concerns that a reminder of one of the most devastating events in local history could be lost.

Signs lined up for the Yew Tree at Malin Bridge - part of a proposed revamp as Champs Sports Bar and Grill - would be “excessive” for the old and prominent building, the council has ruled.

It also says neighbours would be affected when signs are illuminated and by the proposed expansion of the beer garden.

At the same time, Loxley Valley Protection Society is urging Punch Taverns not to forget the history of the pub and the area. The Great Sheffield Flood of 1864 claimed 240 victims when Dale Dyke Dam burst its banks.

“We can see that the renaming of the pub is a rebranding exercise to create a more successful business, but members of the society are interested in retaining the local history of the area,” says Jan Symington, of the society, in a submission to the council.

“We would support local historians, as we approach the 150th anniversary of the Great Sheffield Flood, Britain’s largest peacetime disaster, in requesting the provision of an information board here.

“Whether that comes about or not, we feel it would be a shame, especially at this stage, to lose all reference to the pub as the Yew Tree, given that a hostelry of that name has been at Malin Bridge for 200 years and was used as a mortuary for the victims after the flood.

“Keeping local history alive could also be part of a successful marketing strategy.”

From a planning perspective, the council is concerned about what the old pub would look like, although it is not a listed building.

“The proposed level of signage is considered to be “excessive” in relation to the building and, coupled with illuminated signage, will detract from the character of the building and the surrounding area. The signage would also be prominent when viewed from neighbouring properties and would be harmful to the living conditions of the occupiers.”

Representatives of Punch say it is planned to offer food and drink after the refurbishment, with a bigger area for outside drinking.

The proposed improvements will “enhance the business” and create an environment for “a quiet drink in a local historic public house with pleasant garden facilities”.

But the council says the alterations to the beer garden would result in “increased noise and disturbance” for neighbours.

A Punch Taverns spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the outcome and we are exploring all options for the pub.”