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Bass Leisure offside with Golden Ball

The story of the Victoria Family and Commercial Hotel, Leeds which appeared in the August edition of What’s Brewing, is being mirrored in Rotherham with the Golden Ball, Whiston.

The Good Beer Guide listed and three times Rotherham CAMRA Pub of the Season was acquired by Bass Leisure as part of the parcel of pubs which Punch Taverns passed on to them after buying the Allied Domecq estate last year. >br>
Standing in the centre of a conservation area, the Golden Ball, a much loved and well respected ‘local’ pub is mainly used by residents of Whiston and nearby communities. It has only been in the hands of Bass Leisure for a few months. The proposed development will destroy this award winning pub and turn it into a giant inn attempting to attract drinkers from all over the Borough and beyond. The community of Whiston will lose a valued amenity.

The plans propose to more than double the ground floor area of the pub from 1185m2 to 2495m2. The building next door, at present a ladies’ hairdressers, will be incorporated into the pub. Plans for a rear garden drinking area together with an elevated veranda will destroy the privacy of nearby private houses. The plans submitted to Rotherham Council for approval refer to the pub not as the Golden Ball but the Ember Inn. This is in contradiction of current Government Policy, which states, that we need to retain traditional pub names.

Also, the Golden Ball sign at the front of the pub is not shown on the proposed front elevation. This is a large suspended golden sphere, which is very distinctive and gives the pub its name. Another ‘feature’ of the pub, a Real Fire situated to the left of the main entrance, is to be removed and replaced by a smaller Gas Fire.

Both local residents and members of Rotherham CAMRA believe that this development will greatly affect the character of the Whiston Conservation Area.

There are already two other pubs within 500 yards of the Golden Ball, both are bigger than the Golden Ball, and both are under utilised. These proposals would transform the area around the pub from one of relative calm to one of chaotic traffic and pedestrian access. Turner Lane is a very narrow road, not suited to take large amounts of traffic. The existing Golden Ball car park is already extremely busy from Thursday to Sunday so where is the extra traffic expected to park?

Another worrying aspect of the plans for local residents is that there will be no landlord/manager living in the pub. This, they fear, could attract burglary and with it the threat to residencies in the immediate vicinity. Rotherham CAMRA recognises that the brewing industry must undergo radical changes, but it is strongly opposed to such ill-thought out opportunistic ventures such as this proposal.

Rotherham CAMRA strongly objects to these proposals in their entirety and has joined local residents in opposing the planning application.

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