An historic Kings Norton pub – which has been closed for almost two years – has been bought by JD Wetherspoon.
B14 News reported today that the pub chain giant bought the Navigation in Wharf Road in September and a land registry search has confirmed the £1.2 million sale.
A spokesperson for JD Wetherspoon confirmed the purchase and said an application for planning permission to develop the site was set to be submitted next week.
He said: “If planning permission is granted, Wetherspoon would aim to start development work in January, with the pub opening July 2020.”
The future of the historic pub was plunged into uncertainty when owners Greene King sold the 19th century building in January 2018.
Bought by a private buyer, a planning application was submitted to Birmingham City Council to convert the original building into apartments as part of a housing development on the site.
However, the planning application was subsequently withdrawn.
The news that the future of the pub has been secured by JD Wetherspoon will be welcomed by many in the local community, after years of uncertainty.
Local MP Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield) said: “I know a lot of people in the area were very sad when the Navi shut its doors and they were worried about what would become of the building which had long been a Kings Norton landmark.
“The fact that it is going to reopen as a Wetherspoons is therefore potentially very good news.
“Obviously I will want to hear more from the new owners about the detail of their plans and I very much hope they will welcome building close relationships with the school next door and with the Kings Norton community as a whole for the benefit of the area.”
A number of attempts have been made to change the use of the site over the last few years, involving the demolition of the existing building.
In 2011, then owners The Spirit Pub Company planned to sell the pub to the Co-op. Plans for a grocery store were met with much objection from local residents, politicians and businesses. The campaign against the proposal was successful, with city planners rejecting the application.
Plans were resubmitted again TWICE in 2012, but again campaigners opposed and Birmingham City Council rejected both applications, saying that the pub should not be demolished as it was a heritage asset and used for social and community activities. Planners also felt a modern building on the site would not fit with the character of the Kings Norton Conservation Area.
In 2014, The Spirit Pub Company and Sainsbury’s submitted a new planning proposal to demolish the pub and build a modern grocery store. Again, the proposals were rejected by the council.
The companies persisted and took an appeal to the government’s Planning Inspectorate. In 2015, they received the news that the government’s inspector had turned down their appeal, citing safety concerns and the adverse affect on the Kings Norton Conservation Area.