11:42am Friday 27th September 2013
AN ONLINE campaign which opposes the possibility of an Machen pub being turned into a residential home has gathered almost 300 members within a week.
Locals have vowed to try to save the Ffwrwm Ishta pub, which was once the haunt of Welsh rugby stars such as Gareth Edwards and JPR Williams, after a bid was made to turn it into a five- bedroom single family house with external works, parking and new garden area.
The Commercial Street pub closed suddenly last year, with the poor state of the building blamed by leaseholder Niall Walshe as the reason why he walked away.
People in the village made an effort to save the pub last year after the closure was announced. The pub acted as Machen RFC’s base when it was founded in 1871 and whose iconic former chairman Jack ‘Shon’ Davies regularly took rugby stars to drink there during the 1970s.
It is also believed to have once been the area’s court house. Caerphilly council said the application, by a Mr J Pannu, is still being processed.
Sebastian Brealey, who created Keep the Ffwrwm Ishta as a Pub group on Facebook, said: “We are hopeful it won’t go through – over a dozen letters of opposition have been sent to the council – it really has picked up momentum.
“I started the group for individuals who believe that the Ffwrwm is a local amenity and its loss will deprive the community of a place to socialise, and wish to object to the planning application.
“It is fairly self explanatory,I started it as I was quite surprised about the amount of misinformation regarding this simple planning application, many in the village believed that it had already been determined and that a five-bedroom house was going ahead. I tried to comment on the application using the Caerphilly council public access system but could not find the application on it.
“A few days later I tried again and found it but the consultation period appeared to have closed.”
He added: “I contacted the planning office, who told me that the application had not appeared on the public access system correctly.
“I then contacted the case officer who told me that there had been problems with the application and that a new site notice would be going up and the consultation period would start from then.”
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