Council refuses Russell Brand’s Oxfordshire pub conversion plan

  • By James Aldridge & Galya Dimitrova
  • Local Democracy Reporting Service

Image source, Google Maps

Image caption, The Crown Inn in Pishill was bought by Russell Brand in 2020

Russell Brand’s plan to convert a village pub into a recording studio and a community space has been refused.

The comedian and actor put forward a proposal to South Oxfordshire District Council to transform The Crown Inn in Pishill, Oxfordshire, in November.

The project would have created an office and studio space for his independent video series.

The council refused it after a number of objections, 53 of which came from neighbours.

Image caption, Mr Brand wanted to create an office and studio space

Mr Brand, who has 6.79 million subscribers on YouTube, bought the pub, which has been closed for years, in 2020.

In addition to a recording studio, his project also envisioned a community space in a separate barn, and a food and drink outlet in an old stables.

The spaces both serve as supplementary buildings for The Crown Inn.

The plan was refused on 2 February, after complaints from residents and professionals from the pub sector.

David Cooper, pub preservation officer at the South Oxfordshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said the suggestions were “ill-defined” and would “in no way” compensate for the loss of a pub.

Jeremy Tweddle, resident from the nearby village of Berrick Salome, said he had “enjoyed many visits to the Crown”.

“In my opinion, it appears that the current owners have bought a public house, made no effort to run it as such and now declare it not viable,” he said.

Planning officer Marc Pullen argued that Mr Brand’s agents had failed to provide information that The Crown Inn is economically “unviable” as a business.

“The proposed development would result in the loss of an essential community facility,” he added.

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